As a parent, it’s your responsibility to talk to your kids about the birds and bees. Having this chat at an early age can often be difficult and a little embarrassing. However, Matthew Teeple says it saves your child from falling into the trap of sexual assault. This conversation is more about explaining to them the warning signs rather than the act.
When it comes to children, every parent’s priority is their safety. According to CDC, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys experience sexual abuse before they turn 18. What’s even scarier is the US Department of Justice reports that 23% of perpetrators are children themselves and 10% are strangers!
These statistics send a chill down your spine just thinking about the dangers to children out there.
Let’s look at some tips on how to start the conversation:
Matthew Teeple Recommends Creating a Comfortable Environment
Young children have a short attention span. They are easily distracted. To ensure they listen to you, creating a comfortable environment is important. If they like hot cocoa, hand them a mug topped with marshmallows to make them feel comfortable. Once they are settled, begin the conversation. Since this is a sensitive topic, talk to them alone.
Ask about their routine at school, how they play and with whom, and if they have ever done something that made them uncomfortable. Matthew Teeple says to give them a chance to open up instead of getting straight to the point.
Talk About Their Body Parts
Your conversation about sexual abuse with your child depends on how old they are. For example, beat around the bush if they are between 3 and 8. For teens, be their friend rather than a parent.
Talking to the young ones is more challenging because they are innocent. So, start by naming their body parts; this will make it easier for them to ask questions regarding their body.
It’s OK to Say No
Sometimes, as a parent, you set rules that teach your children not to say “no.” Matthew Teeple says this often results in a misunderstanding regarding sexual abuse. The message gets lost in the conversation, and children obey what they are taught.
Teaching your kid how to say “no” should be about comfort. For example, if your kid doesn’t like hugging your uncle or aunt, tell them to say “no.” Ensure their words are respected; if not, make them feel comfortable enough to discuss their concerns.
Matthew Teeple Says to Come Up With a Code Word
With teens, a direct approach always works. However, when you are dealing with young children, who are less vocal, tell them to signal you whenever they are feeling comfortable. This trick helps you keep an eye on your child when they are having a play date or playing in a group.
Matthew Teeple says having a conversation with your child is not enough. You must set some safety rules depending on your child’s developmental stage. They should be easy to remember. Lastly, check in with your child regularly to know what’s going on in their