We always teach our children different life skills and we make sure from day one that they are growing in a safe environment. We teach them how to walk, talk, protect themselves from injuries, but sometimes parents do not talk to their children about body safety or sex educate them early enough, as they think kids are still too young.
A research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that approximately 1 in every 6 boys and 1 in every 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.
It is never too soon to start that kind of conversation with your child. Here are seven ways that might help protect your child from sexual abuse:
- Talk about body parts and make sure your child know the proper anatomical name of his/her organs. Knowing the actual names for body parts help children talk clearly if something inappropriate ever happens.
- Teach them about body privacy and boundaries. Make sure that they know that nobody is allowed to see or touch their private areas starting 2-3 years of age. No one is allowed to see or touch our private areas except parents. Teach them privacy rules like never leaving the bathroom door open.
- Teach your child that privacy rules apply to everyone even family members and friends. Children always think that if they know someone or like him, then he is a good person and may not apply the safety rules around them. According to the US Department of Justice only 10% of abusers are strangers to the child and 23% of the abusers are children themselves.
- Never force your child to hug or kiss anyone against their desire. Make sure your child understands that if he\she feels uncomfortable, they have the right to say NO. If they feel unsure about doing something, they have the right to refuse doing it. If they don’t want to talk with a certain person, don’t force them. Stop caring about what people might think and consider your child’s safety first.
- Teach them how to defend their bodies. Tell your child that it is okay to tell an adult to STOP if they don’t feel comfortable with their touch. It is also okay to ask for help immediately.
- Always be a good friend and be available all the time. Take part in your child’s life, always have an open discussion, answer all the questions they ask or at least search together for answers, be the one who fulfills their curiosity. Pedophiles look for children who appear to be lonely or whose parents don’t pay much attention to them. Pedophiles get close to children by being a friend or someone to trust. So, be always there.
- If your child is sexually abused, take it seriously and never blame them. A pedophile will make the child feel guilty as if they contributed to their abuse. Always tell your child that if they tell you anything about body safety or body secrets, they will never get in trouble. Don’t blame your child, but thank them for telling you. Always help and support them.
There is no guarantee that we can protect our children against pedophilia, but when we empower them with enough knowledge, make them feel worthy, and teach them to trust you as a friend, it might help them one day.
Further reading: Sex Education: Mom, Where Did I Come From?