11 Tips On How To Talk To Your Kids About Sexual Assault

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It can be stressful to plan a big safety talk about sexual assault with your kid. The good news is, you don’t have to. Conversations about sexual assault can be a part of the safety conversations you’re already having, like knowing when to speak up, how to take care of friends, and listening to your gut. The key is to start these conversations when your kids are young, and have these conversations often.

Start conversations about safety when your kids are young

Teach young children the language they need to talk about their bodies and information about boundaries to help them understand what is allowed and what is inappropriate. These lessons help them know when something isn’t right and give them the power to speak up.

  • Teach children the names of their body parts. When children have the words to describe their body parts, they may find it easier to ask questions and express concerns about those body parts.
  • Some parts of the body are private. Let children know that other people shouldn’t touch or look at them. If a healthcare professional has to examine these parts of the body, be present.
  • It’s OK to say “no.” It’s important to let children know they are allowed to say “no” to touches that make them uncomfortable. This message isn’t obvious to children, who are often taught to be obedient and follow the rules. Support your child if they say no, even if it puts you in an uncomfortable position. For example, if your child doesn’t want to hug someone at a family gathering, respect their decision to say “no” to this contact.
  • Talk about secrets. Perpetrators will often use secret-keeping to manipulate children. Let children know they can always talk to you, especially if they’ve been told to keep a secret. If they see someone touching another child, they shouldn’t keep this secret, either. Learn more about protecting a child from sexual assault.

Continue to engage teens in safety conversations

It’s important to create a dialogue about topics like safety and sexual assault with your teen. Consider these conversation starters to engage them in conversation.

  • Use the media to make it relevant. Ask your teen’s opinion on something happening on social media, in the news, in a new movie, or on a popular TV show. You could even watch an episode with them and ask follow up questions. Asking their opinion shows them that you value their point of view and opens up the door for more conversation.

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