Keeping Your Kids Safe From Child Abuse
I remember a few years ago coming across some heart wrenching statistics on molestation when doing some research for an article. I was so floored that I copy and pasted about three of the bullet points to my facebook page and asked people to forward to friends and post on their pages. Not only was I the type to rarely post or get on facebook, but I also never asked my 832 friends for anything. And the one time I did, I only got one re-post and I was mortified.
Did these 832 people just not care or were none of them parents?
It really was bizarre and then I realized that maybe no one responded because it was unfortunately so common that maybe some of those people had either experienced it, known some who had, or were just that uncomfortable. Either way, I made a vow to myself that when I had kids I would figure out a way to have a healthy conversation about child abuse without scaring them to death. If you are looking to educate yourself about child sexual abuse and are looking for prevention tips check out what the American Academy of Pediatrics has to say.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics these are things parents should look out for and some tips for prevention:
What parents should know about child sexual abuse:
- Most offenders are known to the child; they may be family members, relatives, friends, teachers, coaches, babysitters, and others in positions of authority.
- Children most susceptible to sexual abuse have obedient, compliant and respectful personalities. They may be children from unhappy or broken homes, as these youngsters may be eager for attention and affection.
- Children who are victims of sexual abuse can display many or few behavioral symptoms. They may withdraw from family or friends, display poor school performance, experience depression, anxiety, or exhibit aggressive and self-destructive behavior. Or they may not display any outward abnormal behavior.
- Sexual abuse includes any kind of sexual act or behavior with a child, and includes activities involving genital contact as well as non-contact events- such as showing pornographic images to children, taking pornographic photographs of a child, etc.
Tips that can minimize your child’s risk of molestation:
- In early childhood, parents can teach their children the name of the genitals, just as they teach their child names of other body parts. This teaches that the genitals, while private, are not so private that you can’t talk about them.
- Parents can teach young children about the privacy of body parts, and that no one has the right to touch their bodies if they don’t want that to happen. Children should also learn to respect the right to privacy of other people.
- Teach children early and often that there are no secrets between children and their parents, and that they should feel comfortable talking with their parent about anything — good or bad, fun or sad, easy or difficult.
- Be aware of adults who offer children special gifts or toys, or adults who want to take your child on a “special outing” or to special events.