As a parent, we always want to protect our children. We teach them to cross the road, we teach them to watch out for hot objects, we tell them to stay away from fire and whatnot. But sadly, a majority of parents forget body safety or teach it when they’re older. In such an era, where molestation and sexual assaults have become increasingly common, it is high time parents educate their children about body safety from an early age. Here are 5 ways you can make your child less vulnerable to sexual abuse:
Make them aware of private parts
Talk to your children about body parts from an early age. Make them remember the names of all the body parts. Explain to them that their private parts are not for everyone to see. Make them understand that their private parts can be seen by mother and father only. A doctor can see private parts but only in the presence of parents. Set a rule that when they are outside their homes on in front of other people or acquaintances, they need to have their clothes on.
Good touch and bad touch
Talk to your children about the difference between an appropriate and inappropriate touch. To b hugged, kissed, tickled and snuggled by family members is fine but tell them to say ‘NO’ if they don’t like being touched. Teach your little one words like “stop,” “no more,” and “all done.” Moreover, make your extended family understand that you’re helping your child understand the meaning of unwanted touch if they don’t understand your family boundaries.
No “SECRETS” from parents
Talk to your child about the meaning of a surprise and secret. Surprises are kept hidden briefly but are revealed later whereas secret is kept hidden and is rarely disclosed. The offender usually asks the victim to keep things a secret. Such children who experience sexual abuse become quiet over time and isolate themselves from family, friends, and activities they enjoy. Set a rule that there should be “no secrets in the family” and if someone shares a secret, they should immediately inform their mom and dad.
“Was everything okay?”
Talk to your child when they come back from a place, an event or if you leave them in someone else’s care. Ask them if they felt safe. Ask them they witnessed anything inappropriate happened to them or anyone else. When we make communication comfortable and easy for children, they won’t keep any secrets from you and you will definitely get an honest answer.
Communication is the key to protect your child
- Encourage your child to share their problems and feelings.
- Tell them that you will be there during their difficult times.
- If unfortunately, sexual abuse happens, tell them that it isn’t their fault.