Any type of abuse a child can endure has the potential to not only cause a family crisis, but also lead to personal and interpersonal issues in other avenues of life. That’s why it’s essential for parents to be as informed as possible.
Talk to your child
- Tell your child that some parts of their bodies are private, and no one is allowed to touch them there. Explain where these private parts are.
- Teach your child the correct names of their body parts. It’s important to know and be comfortable with names of their private areas and be able to talk about them openly.
Listen to your child
- Ask your child about his or her activities. Find out who they spend their time with, and try to learn more about those people. Ask what they did at school, at the birthday party, etc.
- Listen to your child if they say they are uncomfortable around someone. Ask open-ended questions to learn more about what makes them feel that way. Lastly, let them know it’s okay to speak up when they feel uncomfortable.
- Pay attention to changes in behavior or attitude.
- Let your child know it’s okay for them to set their own boundaries for their body. Offering a high five instead of a hug is perfectly fine.
- Teach them to speak up against individuals who make them uncomfortable and to share their feelings of discomfort with you.
- Teach children to speak to you, or someone they trust, about times when someone violates their boundaries.
- Have your children use their computers, cell phones and tablets in a centralized area of the house – you should be able to monitor their usage at any given time. At bed time, suggest that everyone charges their phone in the living room, and not in the bedroom.
- Set guidelines for online use. Post online rules on the computer or fridge where everyone can see them every day. Here are some suggested rules:
- Never give your address, name, number or other personal information to someone you meet online.
- Never send pictures of yourself or others to anyone online.
- Avoid hate speech or other cyberbullying tactics.
- If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, report to an adult immediately.
- Know how to report suspicious behavior on your child’s list of approved websites and applications.
- Parental controls are available on most technological devises. We recommend you take advantage of these options to better make sure your children don’t access unsafe areas of the internet.