Sex crimes against children are more common than ever, and parents have all the reasons to worry. You cannot be sure that your kid is safe at school, community swimming pool, or shopping mall. Kids may even encounter sexual abuse at home, from a parent, relative, or friend. While you cannot be with your children at all times, you can make them conscious of such risks. Educating them about sexual assault is crucial, but it requires more than safety conversations. You must create awareness about listening to their gut, knowing when to speak up, and taking care of siblings and friends. It can get awkward at times, but consider it like a bitter pill your child has to swallow for their own well-being. Here are some tips you can rely on as a parent.
Start when they are young
No child is too young to face sexual exploitation, so you shouldn’t wait for the right age. Starting young is crucial as it enables the kid to understand the concern from an early age. Pick appropriate language young children understand and examples they can identify with. Talking about their bodies is a good idea as you can educate them about body parts and, gradually, explain the boundaries. Keep the information simple to ensure that a little one can digest it. Also, avoid sharing too much information at a young age because it may scare them. Pick your lessons wisely to enable the child to identify a wrongful act so that they can speak up right away.
Teach them the importance of saying “no”
Parents often expect kids to be obedient and follow the rules at all times. But saying yes to everything may go against a little one when they face an abusive situation. Let your child learn the importance of saying “no” when someone makes them uncomfortable. The skill empowers them to handle a daunting situation on their own when they face sexual assault in your absence. Supporting their decisions in little things helps develop their confidence, which is vital when it comes to saving themselves in abusive situations.
Upgrade education over time
Your child outgrows sexual abuse education over the years. Things you taught them as a young kid will not be enough as they reach teenage. A seasoned sex crimes attorney will recommend going through resources on sex education to upgrade your child’s education over time. They face different threats once they are on their own in high school or college. The risks grow as they navigate social life, experiment with romantic relationships, and move out for education. You need to be in touch constantly and talk about sexual assault threats. Educate them about the ways to handle these threats when alone.
Extend emotional support
Sexual assault is painful for anyone, even more, for a young body and mind. Whether the incident is violent or subtle, your child will face daunting consequences. Even a threat can be challenging to handle. As a parent, you must extend emotional support relentlessly. Be there for the child at all times, and make sure you are vocal about your support. Listen to their concerns, and take appropriate action because it shows you take them seriously. If you fail to take action, the child will feel lonely and hurt. Maybe, they will not even approach you if they experience abuse down the line. Reassure them that you will always be at their side, no matter how hard things get.
Use media to make education more relevant
As a child navigates life socially, they meet different people and face different situations. It is not easy to make them aware of threats until they come across one. But you can use media to make education more relevant for your kid, regardless of their age. Talk to them about incidents in the news, on a popular TV show, in a movie, or on social media. Encourage them to share their opinions on situations involving sexual abuse and assault against children. The last thing you should do is shelter your kids from reality. Instead, let them know what they may face and teach them the right way to handle such situations.
Creating awareness about sexual assault is the key to raising a strong and courageous child who can deal with the most challenging situations. Besides taking care of themselves, educate them to help others like friends and siblings. Encourage them to raise a voice fearlessly and be there to support them when they or their friends need you.