We know that there are already local and private organizations that set up a program to help families in protecting their children against sexual abuse. These organizations involve different concerned people like psychologists, therapists, medical professionals, volunteers, etc. The part of the job is to spread awareness far and wide. One of the primary goals is to teach families the proper way of making sure that children are protected from sexual predators as much as possible. Without further ado, here are the simple things members of the family can do to secure their kids’ safety.
1. Every family needs to make sure that children know the name of their private parts. Yes, you read that correctly. Instead of naming it differently, educating children to use the right name for their sensitive parts is beneficial in understanding its importance. According to Natasha Tracy, a sought after expert for advice in many mental health disorders, ”Label the body parts using the correct terms and use accurate names for sex acts as developmentally appropriate. Make sure the child knows that it’s not OK for someone to touch his private parts.” It is comprehensible that there is a misconception about being vocal on those things. However, if all members of the family are open and frank about it in a conversation, children will think of it as body parts. So when kids know what those parts are, they can immediately pay close attention to sexual predators. These children can say it loud when predators are attempting to touch it. With that, these kids will become less likely a victim because predators appear intimidated with their knowledge about their use and importance. Aside from that, the children’s familiarity with their private parts can make it easier to follow up procedures like in an investigation or court hearings.
2. Perhaps you can consider your children to feel close to all members of the family. There are times that even those not-so-close relatives and outsiders get welcomed in the house because of a significant relationship. However, you must put in mind that having a benefit of the doubt is a must. You need to think about your kids’ too much closeness with these people. In that way, you can potentially secure a distance between closeness and unintentional sexual act. In line with that, teach your children to honor and value physical awareness. Make them realize that too much body contact is unnecessary. Hugging and kissing other people without the thought of malice might be okay at times. But consecutively, it is not healthy.
3. There is a misconception when trying to explain to children what the word “SECRET” is all about. Yes, teaching children the value of keeping a secret is appropriate behavior. However, there is always a limitation as to what types of secrets the children are trying to hide. At least make them realize that some secrets are still secrets even if parents know all about it. It will support open communication in any situation. “The establishment (and eventual betrayal) of affection and trust occupies a central role in the child molester’s interactions with children…. The grooming process often seems similar from offender to offender, largely because it takes little to discover that emotional seduction is the most effective way to manipulate children.” Says Anna C. Salter, Ph.D. The kids will not be afraid to tell their family about any sexual attempts they encounter. Yes, sometimes, it will be hard to identify sexual abuse, and your children might not view the act that way. However, when you let them know that secrets can be alarming, make them understand that it is utterly essential to share it with you.
4. It is okay to ask your children about their day. Allow them to share and narrate their happy moments. Make them think that in a conversation, it is vital to be open about everything. But make sure the children also understand that asking about their safety is also part of the conversation. So better ask them if they feel safe around with people. These include throwing direct questions if someone is trying to harm them or attempting to get too close. It will become an opportunity to know what is genuinely going on with the children, especially when they are away from you. Always pay attention to how they try to narrate their story. Make sure that you know how to identify the children’s gesture when something is not right about their reaction.
5. Allow your children to avoid hugs and kisses or anything that requires body contacts. That is primarily when the act gets enforced. It may seem a little uncomfortable in the beginning. However, it will become a better chance to explain to them the value of their right to their own body. You must understand that allowing your kids to say “NO” doesn’t mean they are rude. Instead, it will enable them to set limitations on what kind of physical contact is acceptable and not. Sexual predators according to consultant psychiatrist Dr. Ken Ung, “Other than seeking sexual gratification, they could also be looking for a sense of control and power over their younger victims. They may like to be the one making suggestions or initiating things.”
Bear in mind that you can’t protect your children 24/7. However, you can allow them to protect themselves by educating the right information.