As parents, you do everything possible for the well-being of your child. Give them the best you can afford, in terms of things that you buy or the values you teach them. For most parents, nothing is more important than their children, and they would go to great lengths to keep them safe. Yet, most do not prepare their child to understand and report abuse.
In these grave situations, it is extremely important we prepare our children in the best way possible:
1. Discuss different body parts
You should talk openly about various body parts with your child as early as possible. Tell them the proper names of all their body parts. Misinformation will only create confusion for both you and your child. Feeling comfortable using these words and knowing what they mean can help a child talk clearly if something inappropriate has happened.
2. Draw the clear circle of privacy
Explain to your child, the concept of privacy and personal space. Teach them how some parts are different from others and should not be seen without clothes on. Explain who can see those parts and under what circumstances. Define a very clear circle as to who all they should allow to see them naked. This may include you, your partner and maybe the family doctor. Keep the circle as small as possible.
3. Set very clear rules
Inform your child that someone else touching their private parts is totally out of bounds. You may help them understand better by saying that these zones are ‘danger’ zones and no one can touch them here and no one should ask them to touch anybody else’s private parts (or ‘danger’ zones).
4. No secrets
Most perpetrators get away, by teaching children that they must keep the abuse a ‘secret’. They may ask the child in a friendly way, sometimes offering a treat in return, or they may even threaten them. Tell your kids that no matter what anyone tells them, secrets between you and your child are not allowed, especially if it involves your body. Allow them to be open with you about these things.
5. Convince your child that sharing body ‘secrets’ will not get them into trouble
The fear of being punished or getting into trouble is often used by the perpetrator. They take advantage of the fear of the child. Therefore, it is important that your child can share freely with you and does not feel that they will be punished for sharing a ‘secret’ with you. Let them know that you will not scold them for telling you about their ‘secrets.’
6. Say ‘No’ and Run
A child needs to know what they should do if they someone’s hand is reaching for their private parts. You may ask them to scream ‘no’ and get away from that situation and reach you as soon as possible. It is equally important that your child should not be embarrassed to get away from such situations. Teach them that these situations demand them to run away from the other person and find you first.
7. It can be anyone, anywhere
Children need to realize that anyone can do something of this sort. As the statistics point out, in most cases close relatives are the perpetrators. Thus, your child should be able to identify anybody no matter how close that individual maybe to you. They should know that these rules apply even to the people they already know.
8. No one can take pictures of their private parts
Pedophiles often take naked pictures of children and sell them online. Children are most vulnerable to such acts and need to be made aware of it. It can be easily missed by parents however puts your ward in a great risk.
Teaching your children early in life might make all the difference. As a parent, it can be very difficult to share this with your child, however, their safety is of prime importance.
These points cannot completely prevent child abuse but will make your child better prepared to face predators who are looking to exploit innocent and unaware kids. Hopefully, your child won’t have to go through this. But it is always better to prepare them, because you can't always be around to protect them, even if you really want to. Give your child the gift of awareness.