Use the anatomically correct terms for private parts. Teach kids to use this language.
Teach your child that it’s ok to say “no” to anyone whose actions make them feel weird, yucky, or uncomfortable. This applies even if it is an adult or an older kid that you know.
Give kids a few active responses they can say if someone tries to break the “Private Parts Rule”. Kids need this language ahead of time!
- “Stop touching me – that’s not ok.”
- “I don’t let anyone touch my privates.”
- “My parents taught me that’s not ok. You have to stop.”
Listen to your child. If they consistently don’t want to be around a particular person or environment, don’t force them. They may be sensing a “red flag” that you are unaware of.
Be alert if your young child is always in the company of an older child, whether it’s a cousin, relative, sibling of playmate, etc. Is there any behavior or language that seems “off” as a result of their time together?
Question why your child suddenly has gifts, toys, or expensive items that you didn’t purchase.
Remind kids about the important “No Secrets” family rule.
Use child-friendly language that makes sense to children when discussing this topic. Keep the conversation empowering and non-fearful. Use terms like: “tricky people”, “thumbs up / thumbs down”, “you’re the boss of YOUR body”, and “our family safety rules”.
Let children decide for themselves how they want to express affection. Don’t force them to hug or kiss another person if they are visibly uncomfortable doing so.
Trust your instinct and let children know it’s okay for them to trust theirs. Our instinct is one of the best barometers for letting us know when something or someone is not ok.
Be alert to any sudden sexual behavior or knowledge that your child exhibits which is not appropriate for their age, maturity or developmental level. This is especially true if they have new words for their private parts. Look into reasons why and consider who may have taught them.
Be sure your child understands that if someone does make them feel “yucky” or uncomfortable, it’s never their fault and they won’t be in trouble for telling you. Kids will often keep a shameful secret for fear of being blamed or getting into trouble.
Start the safety dialog with your children early on by giving them information in small doses. Practice makes perfect. Safety dialog is not a one-time conversation. Update and continue the conversation as your child grows.
Remember: The one thing that deters a child predator or a molester is the possibility that they could get caught. If they think that you are paying attention & are alert to their tricks, or if they think your child is confident enough to recognize inappropriate behavior, you significantly lower the risk of being their target.
Sections on this page have been adapted from: SafelyEverAfter