When we get a baby, we should be prepared to keep her safe and to teach her everything which can make her life secure and enjoyable. During children’s growing up, their knowledge has to be more serious and comprehensive. We should explain to our kids what they have to fear of and to teach them how to protect their body when we as parents are not around.
The main thing is to teach them how to protect themselves from sexual abuse. Preventative measures are always the best protection for our kiddos. I will give you the most important body safety rules which can save your kids in possible unexpected circumstances.
The Ugly Truth
Centers for Disease Control conducted research which showed that approximately one in four girls and one in six boys in the U.S. were sexually abused until they reached the age of eighteen! The US Department of Justice confirmed that 23% of the perpetrators were children and only about 10% of abuse committed people who were complete strangers to the child.
are very often younger than five years, and they almost always know who the perpetrator is. The scary thing is that it’s frequently another kid! Surprised? Yes, many parents believe that if they never leave their children alone or with a stranger, that’s enough for their little ones to be safe. The ugly truth is that you can easier protect your kid from being sexually abused by a stranger than from other kids or relatives.
When I read these facts for the first time, I was holding my little daughter very hard and couldn’t have stopped crying. The most horrible fact for me was that these ‘creatures’ who were able to hurt the child in such terrible way looked wholly innocent. They were only kids. They frighteningly looked like normal children and ordinary people.
Safety Rules for Kids
After I wiped tears away, I decided to protect my child, to establish my body-safety rules, and to teach her to defend herself in the best possible way. I can’t protect her from falling from bicycle, cuts, cold, or some emotional pain, but I can and will keep her safe from those who want to hurt her tendentiously and intentionally.
I started with small talk about body safety. Starting early enough is essential. Find a way and appropriate vocabulary. Children of different ages require a different approach, but it is possible to explain the situation to every child, regardless of their age. My advice to you is to start with trust. Trust in you as a parent should be stronger than the threat of abusers. It is crucial. I believe that these body safety rules all kids need to know:
1- Insist that your kid remembers her own and your real name and surname and your exact home address. In many scary situations of getting lost, your child will know names and an address which can help. Nicknames or ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ is not helpful at all. You should practice these data over and over again until she remembers them forever and ever.
2 – Teach your kid who the persons of trust are. She can always look for these people to help her in unexpected situations. From the very young ages, I have taught my daughter that crying in the crowd wouldn’t help her to find us if she got lost. She has learned that in these circumstances should ask for help and to look for the policeman, firefighter, teacher, parents with a baby in the stroller, saleswoman in the nearby shop. She knows that it’s forbidden talking with people in cars or getting into a car with a person who offers help.
3 – My advice to you is to teach your kid that ‘every stranger is a bad stranger’. I know that it may not politically correct, but it’s the only way to explain to a very young child that anyone with candy in hand or with sweet promises can be dangerous. They simply can’t make a difference between a friendly stranger and a dangerous one.
The wise decision is to identify the code for only two of you. Your child should use it every time she feels unsafe for any reason. The code means that you should come and pick her up.
4 – Child’s body is her own, and all decisions about it belong to her. I know that many women, especially grandmothers in busses and supermarkets absolutely adore touching sweet kids, to hug them, and kiss them. But, it’s your kid’s choice whether she wants people to hug and kiss her. Sorry, but no one has right to touches my kid’s body without her permission. Even hugging and kissing must not be demanded and forced. I don’t care if it’s about my relatives. If my daughter doesn’t want to be kissed or hugged, it is always her decision.
I believe that there are at least two benefits of it. The child will learn to be honest and to kiss and give a hug when she really loves someone and wants to be close to that person. Plus, she won’t have a pressure that she must put up with touching of a relative, teacher, or neighbor who may not have honest intentions.
5 – Teach your kid the names of all parts of her body, especially private body parts. It’s a perfect way to avoid confusing with slang names. Discuss with your child about her feelings connected with her body. Ask her about her feelings and whether she feels safe when she is not with you. Teach her that a hug is OK if she has been asked. Kisses with strangers are not OK. Touching under her clothes and places which we cover with a bathing suit are NEVER OK. Yet, don’t forget to explain your kiddo why it is not OK if anyone touches her but it is OK for a doctor to hold her during an examination when she is ill and when mom is with her.
6 – Tell your kid that ‘body secrets’ are not OK. The standard access of perpetrators is to convince a child that keeping the abuse a secret is a priority. They always do it in a very immoral and peccable way. Usually, they tell a kid that her mom will forbid them to play so lovely if she finds out their secret.
It is horrible in so many ways. In one sentence they explain to the child that mom is someone who is an enemy and hate nice playing. In the same time, they have various possibilities to abuse a child who can’t ask for help. Not to mention that these people use threats to accomplish their goal. Convince your child that she needs to tell mom about ‘body secrets’ and that she will never be in trouble when discovers them no matter if someone says the opposite.
7 – Teach your kiddos that saying ‘NO’ is an acceptable option. They need to learn that in every situation the right answer can be equally ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Help your child to deal with uncomfortable situations. Sometimes is completely necessary using a ‘white lies’ in situations like these. For example, if anyone wants to touch her private parts, it is allowed her to tell that she needs to go to the bathroom.
Excellent Child Safety Books
In the end, I will recommend some child safety books. I believe that they are more than useful and helpful. You can easily find them on Amazon. They are worthy of your money, believe me.
‘Some secrets should never be kept’, by Jayneen Sanders is an excellently illustrated picture book available in many languages including English, German, Spanish, even Japanese. The author uses a compassionate way to describe how we can keep our child safe from inappropriate touches.
‘My body belongs to me’, by Jill Starishevsky is a nice book which will help all of us to support our kids to feel safe. For me, the most important message of this book is that our child mustn’t consider as a secret if someone touches her private body parts, no matter who says otherwise.
‘Not Everyone Is Nice’, by Frederick Alimonti is an excellent book which describes what could happen to every child. The author describes the possible real situations through little Kathy’s example. This book will help your child to learn to be cautious with strangers.
Teach your kid that all the rules are the same for everyone including strangers, other kids, their peers, or people they know. The young children think that someone is a ‘bad guy’ if he is ugly and evil. They can’t understand that someone they know may harm them.
I know that all the talk can’t entirely prevent sexual abuse. It’s up to us to do everything possible to protect our children. Indeed, the best thing we can do is to teach our beloved kiddos how to keep themselves safe and the ways to seek help. Believe your child when she complains about someone’s behavior. Watch out! You mustn’t misuse her trust, no matter what happens. That is the only way to protect your child.