Encourage open communication. Remember to listen, show empathy and support to help your children feel valued, safe and secure. Invite them to ask questions about matters of concern to them and their friends.
Take Interest in Your Children’s Friends
Encourage your children to discuss personal and social experiences. Respond without judgment. It is important to know your child’ s friends and their family members. Avoid sending children with adults you feel uncomfortable with or you don’t know. It is important that you know who your children are spending time with, where they are going and what they will be doing.
Help Children Feel Ownership of Their Bodies
Allow children to refuse unwanted hugs or kisses. It is best not to force or coax your them into showing affection to relatives or other adults. Allow your children to determine the type of contact that feels most comfortable to them.
Teach Children the Difference between Good Touches and Inappropriate Touches
Children should be taught that it is inappropriate for adults, other children or adolescents to touch them in a sexual manner or in any way they do not want to be touched. Let them know that it is against the law for adults to touch them in a sexual way or make sexual advances towards them. Empower them to say no to sexual advances or attempts and ask them to share this information with you as soon as possible.
Teach Children the Difference Between Good Secrets and Bad Secrets
Generally, you should avoid teaching your children to keep secrets. However, it is important that your child understands the difference between a good secret such as a surprise birthday party, which makes people feel good and a bad secret, which can hurt people and make them feel bad. Help your child understand that bad secrets make them feel uncomfortable and should be told.
Talk to Children about Sex in an Age Appropriate Manner
When talking about sex, be sure to use language that the child can understand. Teach the correct names for body parts. Refrain from teaching play names for body parts.
Tell Your Children about the Dangers of Internet Chat Rooms
Talk to your children about adult predators who pretend to be children over the Internet. Remind them not to give out any personal information over the Internet, especially information that identifies their location. Examples are the names of schools, their favorite hangouts, their address or telephone number.
What to Do If You Suspect Your Child has Been Abused
Believe the Child and Praise Them for Disclosing the Information
Children typically do not lie about sexual abuse.
Talk to the child in a safe environment where their privacy can be respected and protected. Avoid making suggestions that the events did not occur. Guard against making criticism or judgments that indicate the child could have prevented the event.
Do not overreact, display emotions, or facial expressions that might have a negative impact on the way the child tells the story. Provide comfort and let them know the did nothing wrong. Help them understand that sharing the event is the right thing to do.
Report the event to authorities and take the child for a medical exam. Explain the examination to the child. Providing information about the process and its purpose. This will help the child separate the examination from the abuse.
Recognize that the Child May Need Psychotherapy or Counseling
Skilled professionals can help the child cope with the abuse. They can also assist in learning how to helpthe child live through this difficult time.