To keep our children safe from predators, we must teach them to recognise inappropriate behaviour and to speak up
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Watch the hot stove, look both ways before crossing the street and don’t take anything from strangers. These are warnings which parents routinely drill into their children’s heads. But sometimes it just isn’t enough to keep them out of harm’s way.
The rise in incidents of children being attacked in places they believed were safe has highlighted the need for parents to help their children identify and avoid potentially unsafe situations.
It is time to help our children understand the severity of the sexual abuse and the proper way to respond, without terrifying them. At the same time we don’t want our children to be fearful of this world.
So what is the best preparation? As parents, we should teach our children proper names for body parts. Basic anatomy is not wrong and there is no such thing as anatomy being “age appropriate”. But here is the problem. If as parents we do not teach our children the proper names for their body parts, we will miss the important signs of sexual abuse.
Child Mind Institute lists 5 things that could help your child be less vulnerable to sexual abuse:
- Teach them that some body parts are private.
- Teach your child body boundaries.
- Tell your child that body secrets are not okay.
- Tell your child that no one should take pictures of their private parts.
- Tell your child that these rules apply even with people they know and even with another child.
As parents we need to be vigilant, and above all educate our children on how to respond to awkward and harmful situations. The main aim is to encourage children to talk to their parents, no matter what. These conversations need to be ongoing.