We must raise children to respect all life. We cannot pick and choose which people/things deserve better treatment than others, it must be understood and children must be involved in learning and living that all life is a gift, we are all connected and equally deserving to be treated with compassion.
We cannot end child sexual abuse without also impacting other very serious issues – violence against women, racism, gender-equality, discrimination against those with disabilities, the poor, bullying, all forms of crime, war, etc When we see any living creature, we must acknowledge it’s value and that it must be protected, not judged, ridiculed, or violated.
Read books to your children about respect, use examples in daily life, stories in the news etc to involve your children on a frequent basis how important it is to treat people with care and have compassion for not just the physical safety of others, but also their emotions. Click here for suggested reading.
We can teach, even toddlers, to pay attention to the feelings of others. When they take a toy from another child, hit or purposely scare, how does that person look? Do they look sad? Happy? We don’t want to do things to other people that will hurt them or make them sad, and people should not do things to us that cause us pain or make us sad, either. As much as we need to protect our children from being abused, we must also protect them from becoming abusive – and it starts with empathy.
Sections on this page have been adapted from TheMamaBearEffect