The Scary Statistics...
95% of children know their molesters.
About 1.3 million children in the U.S. are molested every year.
Yes this is an uncomfortable and scary topic. And we do not discuss it as a scare-tactic but to create awareness and spread knowledge. Awareness and education are the keys to prevention. Below are a few keys to help educate and create body boundaries with your children.
-It’s never too early to start the discussion. The earlier you start, the more comfortable the conversation becomes and the easier it is for your child to talk to you.
-Trust your child’s intuition. If something has made them feel uncomfortable, believe them and then it’s up to you to determine why.
-Teach children the correct names for body parts as it may discourage a potential predator.
-Teach your child the difference between a good touch and a bad touch and that no one should touch their body without permission. Reinforce this during bath time by reiterating that they are the only ones allowed to touch their private parts.
-Do not force your child to hug, kiss, touch anyone, even family members. You’ve told them they have control over their bodies, so forcing them to do something that makes them uncomfortable is sending them mixed signals. Instead, simply tell them “say goodbye to so and so” and allow them to do so in a way that makes them comfortable.
-Respect the child’s boundaries during play. If they say “no” or “stop”, listen to them.
-Create a code word with your child so they can express their discomfort to you without feeling embarrassed.
-We often think of abuse as occurring between an adult and a child, but bear in mind that abuse can also occur between peers, siblings, of peers, etc.
-The child needs to know they can come to you if they even feel uncomfortable in any way and that they will never be in trouble.
The bottom line is to have an open line of communication with your child so they always feel comfortable coming to you. As a parent, if this ever occurs, you must take the appropriate steps to determine what has made your child uncomfortable and to protect (remove) them from that situation.
Damsel in Defense, Proactive Parent Guide to Body Boundaries