One of the last things any parent wants their child to experience is sexual abuse. But for many children and families, this is sadly something that will happen in their life. Despite the statistics, there are things you can do to help reduce the chances of your child becoming a victim of sexual abuse or ensuring that any inappropriate behavior gets nipped in the bud as quickly as possible and that justice is served.
To show you how this can be done, here are three things to teach your children about protecting their bodies from sexual abuse.
Set Physical Boundaries Together
Because children are so innocent, they may not know what constitutes sexual abuse all on their own. So to help them be aware of themselves and what is or isn’t appropriate, RAINN.org shares that you and your child should discuss what physical boundaries they should have when interacting with others.
When setting these boundaries, let your child know that no one has the right to make them feel uncomfortable. This should include family members and close friends. So if someone asks your child for a hug or tries to start tickling them, give your child permission to tell whoever is taking these actions that they don’t want to be touched. And if you’re around your child when this happens, make sure you support their decision, even if the situation appears completely innocent to you.
Create A “No Body Secrets” Policy
While everyone has secrets, what’s not safe is if your child begins keeping secrets about their body in relation to other people. In many abuse situations, the abuser will ask the child to keep the abuse a secret. This is something that you’ll want to speak to your child about from a young age.
According to Natasha Daniels, a contributor to ChildMind.org, you should tell your child that keeping any secrets about their body isn’t okay. This should include anyone looking at or touching their body as well as anyone showing their body to your child.
Minimize One-On-One Time With Others
One of the best things you can do to keep your children away from anyone that might abuse them is to keep your child out of situations where this might be possible.
To do this, Kavita Varma-White, a contributor to Today.com, advises that you try to minimize the amount of one-on-one time your child has with anyone, including other children. Additionally, when your child does spend unsupervised time with someone, make sure you ask questions about who was there and what they did together. By always asking these questions, you’ll be keeping the lines of communication open in the event that something traumatic does take place.
To help keep your children safe from physical and mental harm, consider using the tips mentioned above to teach your children how to protect themselves from potential sexual abuse.