How to Talk to Your Kids About Sexual Abuse
As a parent, there are many topics that are hard to handle. How to talk to your kids about sexual abuse is one of them. While it isn’t a common topic, it is a necessary one. From a young age, your children may be exposed to situations where sexual abuse cold be a problem. While you work hard to have your children in the care of trusted individuals, you also need them to understand what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior just in case something happens. These tips will help you to talk to them about what they should allow and when it is important to seek you out for help.
*NOTE- THIS IMAGE WAS FROM A FREE IMAGE SOURCE AND DOES NOT SUGGEST THAT THIS CHILD AND/OR PARENT IN THE PHOTO WAS SUBJECTED TO ANY SORT OF ABUSE.
How To Talk To Your Kids About Sexual Abuse
Use age appropriate terms. While we are always advocates of using proper body terminology, some younger kids will understand the nicknames better when referring to their private areas. For older kids the correct terms are fine. Try to speak on their level of understanding.
Make sure they understand all types of inappropriate touching. Inappropriate touching isn’t just about touching private parts. Make sure they understand that touching buttocks, chest and even over their clothing is all inappropriate for another child or adult to do when they are young. Make sure they understand that no adult should touch them in a sexual manner. If they don’t understand what sexual means, then talk about how no adults should touch them in private areas. That you as parents can help them in the bath or getting dressed (for preschool age usually), but that nobody else should be touching them in those places at all.
Let them know there is nothing they can’t talk to you about. Make sure they understand that even if it feels weird or awkward they can talk to you about anything. If they are uncomfortable, worried or not sure about how someone has touched them they should always be able to talk to you with no judgment.
Assure them they won’t get in trouble – no matter what the other person says. Repeat that they will not get into trouble if someone touches them. They can always tell you, no matter what the other child or adults says.
Talk about how to defend themselves if someone touches them. Let them know that if someone touches them they should immediately say no and ask them to stop. If that person doesn’t stop, they can scream, yell for help or even fight them off as necessary. Getting away from someone who is touching against their will is important for them to understand.
These are uncomfortable situations for any parent or child, but being proactive is important. You want to make sure your children truly understand that inappropriate touching is never okay. Make sure they understand what boundaries are and that you love them and will always be there to protect them.
Parent’s are usually faced with topics that are hard to handle and/or discuss. Open communication between your child and yourself, another adult, caregiver, older sibling, etc, is vital to their safety. Let them know that there is someone that they can turn to and trust.
Did you find it difficult to talk to your children about sensitive matters?