As a parent, you want your children to grow up healthy and safe. One of the many ways that you can protect your children from abuse and trauma is to educate them about safety when it comes to other people. Adults and even older children can victimize children of all ages, including teenagers and high school students.
For a long time, parents have focused on so-called stranger danger in their attempt to avoid the abuse of their kids, teaching their children to be wary of people they don’t know in public places or who approach the family home.
However, statistics about childhood sexual abuse make it very clear that the victim almost always knows the perpetrator. Childcare professionals, coaches for school teams and even teachers at the school itself could all be predators hiding in plain sight.
Make sure your kids know how to identify “tricky people”
Adequate safety rules can help keep your children safer. Instead of focusing on strangers, warning your kids about tricky people who will try to manipulate them can help keep them safer. One of the most important rules that you can teach your child to keep them safe from abuse by adults or even older children is that no one should ever demand that they keep a secret from their parents, especially a secret about their bodies.
Additionally, kids need to know that adults should not attempt to develop close friendships or romantic relationships with children, especially if the adult claims the child shouldn’t tell their parents about the friendship or what they do together. Beyond that, make sure that your children understand that an adult looking for help should always ask another adult for help, not a child.
Finally, any adult who attempts to touch a child in an area usually covered by a bathing suit or who exposes their bathing suit area to a child is a danger to that child. Knowing this as a general rule, as well as the proper names for their specific body parts, will help everyone avoid confusion if the child ever does bring up a troubling interaction.
Be prepared to take action if necessary
If your kids understand the concept of tricky people and know the proper anatomical words for their body parts, they will be better prepared to identify potentially abusive behavior and alert you or other adults in positions of authority if someone attempts to mistreat them.
Victims of childhood sexual abuse often trust the perpetrator because it is someone in a position of authority. In some cases, the parents of children who get abused in an institutional setting may have the right to take action and demand justice for their children.