All a parent wants is to see their child grow up healthy, happy, and safe. There are many things that pose a threat to the safety of our children, and as parents, we do our best to warn and protect our children against these dangers. We teach our children to stay safe by looking both ways before crossing the street. We teach them to walk carefully when they are holding scissors and much more.
A threat that is more sensitive and serious is the threat of sexual assault. Unfortunately, this threat is becoming more common in our world. How can we better protect our children from this danger? According to Defend Innocence 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they reach the age of 18. They also report that individuals who have been sexually abused have increased risk of substance abuse and unhealthy relationships.
There are some simple things we can do - such as talking to our children about the dangers of sexual assault. While it may seem simple to many parents it is not easy. You may have questions such as how do I teach my children at an age appropriate level? How do I avoid bringing up more awkward questions?
If you have these questions or more. Do not stress, that is normal, seeing that this is a sensitive topic. Here are a few suggestions of how you can talk to your young children in an age appropriate way that is respectful.
1. Understand that Children are Curious about Their Own Bodies
Children are curious about the world around them - this includes their own bodies and other people's bodies. Children may ask you questions about their bodies. It is important to use proper terms. This is also a great opportunity to teach your children that their are parts of the body that are private.
Again, it is important to teach children that their are parts of the body that are private. Help children to know that the should not feel ashamed for these body parts but rather respect their own parts and others private parts.
It is also important for children to feel confident in establishing boundaries. If they do not feel comfortable with how someone wants to teach them children need to know that they can say no.
Help your children to understand that they do not need to keep secrets from you. Many sexual assault victims suffer in silence because they are ashamed and feel a need to keep it a secret. When taking time to answer your child's questions and talking to them about setting boundaries, you are ultimately allowing an open-door for conversation if a child has further questions or concerns. Help your children to know they can come to you when they have a concern and reassure them they will not be in any trouble if they ever come to you and tell you a secret.
I hope these tips were helpful in understanding how to talk to your child about sexual assault and better protect them from the danger of it. For more practical tips for having sensitive conversations with your child check out these articles.