The last thing any parent wants is for their child to get hurt. But while scrapes and bruises are inevitable, there are deeper scars that you can help your children to avoid.
To show you how this can be done, here are three tips for teaching your children about protecting their bodies and reducing their chances of sexual abuse as a child.
Allow Them To Create Their Own Boundaries
For most children, so much of their lives are out of their control. Adults generally dictate all the rules. But one rule that you should allow your children to control is the boundaries they keep around their own bodies.
According to Jayneen Sanders, a contributor to Mother.ly, you should reinforce to your children that they are the boss of their own bodies and that they don’t have to do anything with their bodies that they’re uncomfortable with. This includes things like giving high fives, hugs, kisses and more.
While allowing your child to create these boundaries for him or herself might make for some uncomfortable situations where they don’t want to hug Grandma or Grandpa “goodbye”, supporting your child’s decisions to be in charge of their own bodies will help them feel confident in keeping healthy boundaries with others and protecting themselves from potential danger or unsafe situation.
Practice What To Do When They Feel Unsafe
Although it might be annoying to you when your child fights you or throws a fit in public, this is actually your child’s best defense from those who might try to harm your child.
Because of this, Lexi Walters Wright, a contributor to Understood.org, recommends that you and your child practice what they should do if they feel unsafe in any situation. This practice should include things like yelling “No!” or “Stop!” in addition to things like kicking and screaming, running away, and identifying trusted adults who can help in an emergency.
Rule Out Body Secrets
In many situations, an abuser will ask your child to keep their interaction a secret, either through coercion or by threats. To combat this, you should teach your child that keeping secrets about their bodies or about how they treat someone else’s body is not allowed.
With this rule in place, Lena Aburdene Derhally, a contributor to the Washington Post, reminds parents that if their child ever comes to them to report something that has taken place, they should always trust their child’s report and take appropriate actions. This is the only way your child will feel confident or trusting in you to get the help they need in the scariest of situations.
If you want to keep your child from becoming a statistic about child sexual abuse, consider using the tips mentioned above to show you how this can be done.