10 Tools to Minimize the Risk of Child Sexual Abuse
written by Defend Innocence
1 out of every 5 children is sexually abused before they turn 18 years old. That statistic can be very scary to think about as a parent. At times, it might seem impossible to protect your child from all of the threats that face them.
But there are things you can do as a parent to protect against child sexual abuse. Here are 10 tools that will significantly minimize the risk for your child:
Use Your Intuition
- Does it seem odd?
- Does it make you or your child feel uncomfortable?
- Does this odd behavior seem to happen too often?
- Has anyone else commented or noticed the same thing?
If the answer is yes to these questions, then trust your instincts and act appropriately. That means to confront the person with kindness and help them understand the boundaries you have set for your children.
Let Children Show Affection on Their Terms
If your child feels uncomfortable giving affection to a particular friend or family member, do not force them. Forcing teaches the child that their opinion does not matter. Allowing a child to show affections on his or her terms teaches children that they have control of their body, and have the right to make decisions about how others treat them.
Give Your Child the Right to Say No
Have Age-Appropriate Conversations
Begin with the basics when they are young and mature the conversations as children get older. These frequent discussions will provide context for your children when they see or hear unhealthy examples of sexuality. Having these conversations will help build a trusting relationship between you and your child. Help them know that they can approach you with any questions or concerns they might have.
Use Appropriate Names
Teach Safe Touch
Uncomfortable touch leaves a child feeling unsafe, confused or uncomfortable. Examples of uncomfortable touch are touching private areas and forcing hugs and kisses. Discuss with your child often about what makes them comfortable and uncomfortable. Reaffirm to them that they never have to do anything that makes them uncomfortable.
Teach the Dangers of Secret Keeping
Let your children know not to keep secrets that make them feel uncomfortable or dirty. Always let them know that if they feel threatened that they can come to you and tell you. Teach your children that they will never be in trouble for sharing a secret with you.
It is also important to teach your children about the consequences of sharing inappropriate material online. Teach your teen in particular that it is illegal to share or re-share nude photos of themselves or other teens. These are classified as child pornography and carry significant legal consequences if shared.
Be in the Know
It is always a good practice to know who will be attending the outing. Will there be siblings, friends of siblings, adults, etc.? If you have any doubt, do not let your child go. As mentioned before, your intuition as a parent is your most important tool. Be sure to use it.
Sleepovers are an outing in which the risk of sexual abuse significantly increases. Be sure to be on alert when your children attend sleepovers, or you might decide not to have them altogether. If you decide to have sleepovers, make sure to be in the know.
Set Clear and Safe Boundaries
When your children start dating, make sure to set clear and safe dating guidelines. Be sure to teach them about what constitutes a healthy relationship. Always give them real-world examples of what is healthy and not healthy.
While protecting your child from child sexual abuse might be a difficult task, it is not impossible. Using these tools to the best of your capability will help maximize the likelihood that your child will have a safe and happy childhood. Nothing can be better than that.
Share this Post