I have read two powerful articles about child sexual abuse this week. Evolutionary Parenting published an article written by Anonymous about the power of our words and the effects they have when we find out that someone is sexually abusing our child ... you should check it out. The words are eloquently writen and it touches the core of the human spirit. The other article is headline news about a 13 year old boy who is facing life in prison ... truly scary stuff!
Whether you read one article, both or none, one can't help but think about the rise in childhood sexual abuse. I have spent countless hours with hundereds of families discussing, processing, feeling, thinking and grieving over the acts of sexual abuse. To be honest, it is one of my biggest fears as a parent: "What will I do if someone abuses my children?" Those Who Knew: Why The Silence About Sexual Abuse?
I believe most parents think about this topic. We are often filled with vengeful thoughts where we want to hurt the person who hurt our children. But I say we have come further than that. We need to be proactive. There are six things that we can do to help our children be safe out in the big, wide world, even when we are not around. Here they are:
1. Teach children to listen to their gut or intuition. Most kids have an excellent radar on people. They can determine who feels safe and who does not ...listen to them. As adults, we tend to minimize what our children think. This is not helpful.
Our children must believe in themselves and listen to what their intuition tells them. Do not expose your children to people they have a bad intuition about.
2. Talk about safety and secrets. As a rule, I believe we should never teach kids to keep secrets. If you are planning a party for someone, teach kids that this is a surprise. Surprises are good, secrets are usually bad. Begin at an early age at discussing what to do if someone tells a child to keep a secret. Because most child molesters are known to the victim, this is a common phrase: "It's our little secret." How To Support An Emotionally Traumatized Child
3. Do not be afraid to ask the tough question. When we as adults can't handle talking about a tough topic like sexual abuse, how in the world can we expect our children to handle it? Thus, do not be afraid to ask the question, "Has anyone ever hurt you or made you feel uncomfortable?" Then, be prepared for the answer.
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