Guest Author - Jeanette Stingley
We are hearing more and more cases of children being sexual abused. Is it because sexual abuse is on the rise or children are more confident to come forward with what is happening to them? In this article we will look at ways to prevent your child from going through this.
One thing every parent teaches their child is not to talk to strangers. I remember in elementary school some of the local police men came to our school to do a presentation they called “Stranger Danger”. We observed and participated in role playing situations. I think this is an excellent idea.
While it is important to teach our children about not talking to strangers, statistics have shown that most sexual abuse done to a child is by someone the child already knows. Forcing a child to hug and kiss relatives can be very awkward for the child if that relative or family friend is the one abusing the child. Let the child show affection in his or her own way.
Teaching a child about the basics of sex at an early age is a way for them to be aware of their body and if someone touches them somewhere that is inappropriate, the child will be able to determine if it was a “good” touch or a “bad touch”. Many pediatricians and psychologists suggest teaching your child the “bathing suit area”. What this is is telling the child that if anyone touches you where you would wear a bathing suit, they need to tell the person no and then come tell you immediately.
Become acquainted with your children’s friends and their family. My parents wouldn’t allow me to go into the house of a friend without first knowing that child’s parents and anyone who lived in that house. Knowing where you child is at all times is crucial. I know many pre-teens and teenagers get frustrated by this rule, but just remind them of the dangers out there. You need to know where they are so you can come get them or if there is a family emergency.
Know about sex offenders in your area. Many cities around the USA have notification systems. The county I live in sends out postcards to neighbors when a sexual offender moves within a certain radius of where you live. I live a block away from an elementary school and 3 blocks from the high school, so I rarely see these. For more information on sex offender registries, see http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art38963.asp this article I wrote.
Teach your child to trust their instincts. If something doesn’t feel right or if they are feeling uncomfortable, it is perfectly alright to say no or walk away. Make your child feel that they can come to you about anything. Building that bond of trust is essential.