How to Talk to Your Kids About Sexual Abuse

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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.

How to Talk to Your Child About Sexual Abuse

*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?

15 thoughts on “How to Talk to Your Kids About Sexual Abuse

  1. Brandon Smith

    This is definitely a difficult subject to discuss with children. My wife and I would discuss these very same things to our children when they were young. We even mentioned that if a doctor and/or nurse had to touch you down there, that that’s appropriate, if it’s a necessary medical purpose. I will note, however, that 98% of the time a parent is present in that situation, but that is also based on the child’s age. Great post!

  2. Ali Rost

    While it may be a hard topic, it’s one that’s so very important. Whenever I had to talk about hard things with my kids I tried to do it in a way that made sure a door was alway open for further conversation after they’d processed through things. I always wanted to make sure, first and foremost, that they knew they could talk to me anytime. Thanks for the conversation. x

  3. Echo

    This is definitely one of the hardest things to think about, let alone talk to your kids about. However, I have talked to both of my kids about it and I think its important to talk about it openly. That way, they know what to watch out for and they know that it doesn’t have to be kept secret.

  4. Donah / SJB

    I want to thank you for sharing all these tips. Slowly but surely, we are also starting to discuss this topic with our kids, and yes, it can be uncomfortable and sometimes confusing for them. But we believe it’s very important to really go over these and so that they are aware on what to do.

  5. Tiffany Haywood

    I remember the first time I had this talk. It wasn’t easy for either of us but I am so glad we had it. Having children that are well informed makes for them feeling more secure and safe.

  6. David Elliott

    I agree that open communication is one of the most important things to have. You have to be able to have open talk with your kids. And establish this early so that when the difficult things come that they will come to you to talk about them.

  7. roch

    It’s very hard to talk about sexual abuse with kids. I’m not sure how comfortable they will be to go through the details. I think it’s best to consult a professional adviser or psychologists to deal with the topic because it’s quite a sensitive one.

    1. admin Post author

      I completely agree with your statement. My point was that parents should be able to have open communication with their child from an early age. They should know about inappropriate touching, etc and have enough courage to speak to one of their parents should someone attempt to touch them in the wrong manner. They are not at fault and if something should happen, parents need to know so they can get professional help for their child.

  8. Lori Bosworth

    I think it’s so important to discuss sexual abuse with children at an early age. And yes, use age appropriate terms so that they can understand. So many adults don’t have these discussions and then children are ill-equipped to deal with these situations should they arise.

  9. monica y

    Such an important topic and most of us never thing about talking to kids about it. It takes courage, but I do believe it is better to do it soon and avoid later issues. Kids should be aware of the dangers out there. The information should come from the parents.

  10. Katherine

    I used a book to help facilitate the conversation. And used shower time as reminders of what was appropriate and not. But I think it’s even more critical to teach your kids that there is nothing in the world they can say to you that would make you love them less. That way if something should happen or the beginning of it, your child will come to you about it.

  11. Vidya Sudarsan

    Your article is an eye-opener. Inappropriate touching is hard to explain and I am glad to read tips and how to talk about this to my daughter. She might not get it initially, but I plan to go over this periodically so that she is aware of such abuse.

  12. Chloe

    This is such an important topic to discuss with our kids. As difficult as it may be, the statistics are too high to keep it behind closed doors. Thank-you for sharing these tips with us!

  13. David Elliott

    I know I have had this talk with my child a few times. I always tell her that if someone tells her that they will hurt her or me if she tells that they are lying. And that I will put them in an early grave if I hear something like that. That these people are cowards and wouldn’t know how to handle someone really standing up to them. And I also tell her that no matter what I will not be upset at her. That I will always love her. And that I will always be there for her. It’s hard sometimes this conversation but it’s one that’s just so essential.

  14. Crystal Lopez

    A hard topic but a topic that is a MUST. We have six boys at home. Honestly, we limit our kids being away from us. We do not do sleepovers, etc. Our kids know they can come to us with anything, and they do. Very open lines of communication are a must.

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