Friday, March 22, 2013

Sexual Abuse. Want to teach your children some safety tips?

I have always wondered how best to educate my children on self awareness and life skills. I have always thought that as a prayerful family, God will always watch out for us. But after all, I now think that talking is important. I think that it is of essence to let our children know about themselves, their body parts and who should or should not see, let alone touch their body parts.
I cannot help but think about the rise in childhood sexual abuse around the world.
here are some tips on how to help kids know their selves.
1. Teach children to listen to their gut or intuition. Most kids have an excellent radar on people. They can determine who feels safe and who does not ...listen to them. As adults, we tend to minimize what our children think. This is not helpful.
Our children must believe in themselves and listen to what their intuition tells them. Do not expose your children to people they have a bad intuition about. 
2. Talk about safety and secrets. As a rule, I believe we should never teach kids to keep secrets. If you are planning a party for someone, teach kids that this is a surprise. Surprises are good, secrets are usually bad. Begin at an early age at discussing what to do if someone tells a child to keep a secret. Because most child molesters are known to the victim, this is a common phrase: "It's our little secret." 
3. Do not be afraid to ask the tough question. When we as adults can't handle talking about a tough topic like sexual abuse, how in the world can we expect our children to handle it? Thus, do not be afraid to ask the question, "Has anyone ever hurt you or made you feel uncomfortable?" Then, be prepared for the answer.
If the answer is yes, do not freak out! Be supportive and comforting. Listen, use less words. Then, let your child know: "we will figure this out as we go along." 
4. Educate children about sexual abuse. A standard rule to use with children is "no one can touch your private parts except you. Mommies and daddies can help you if you are feeling sick and sometimes doctors need to check out our private parts, but always with a mommy or daddy in the room."  Even the smallest of children can understand this. I talk with little kids this golden rule: anywhere your bathing suit covers up is a private part. This helps them know the boundaries. 
5. Healthy touch is crucial to positive  development
hugs and snuggles, wrestling and high fives. Teach kids what healthy touch is about. Teach them who is appropriate to get touched from and how they can get it.
For example, do you hug every person you know? What if someone touches you and you feel uncomfortable? How do you handle someone getting in your space?
6. Be aware, tuned in and conscientious. Notice if things change in your children such as eating habits, mood or sleep. Tune into emotions and make sure that you know what they are about. Parents who are tuned into their children will pick up on subtle changes and address them quickly. Most sexual offenders "groom" people or spend time building relationships before they harm someone.
This may not be my original aritcle as  credit it to Your Tango, But kkeep watching this space as you and your children grow.
Victorine Mbongshu Ntambo

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