INCREASING YOUR CHILD’S SAFETY
Understanding Child Sexual Abuse and Grooming
The sexual victimization of children involves many dynamics. It can include abuse by strangers, acquaintances or family members. When children are groomed by an acquaintance or family member they are less likely to disclose the abuse. It is important to understand the dynamics of sexual abuse — how to possibly prevent abuse and how to recognize signs of misconduct in order to intervene as soon as possible.
Establish and reinforce the role of your child within the family. If your child wants to listen to adult conversations about adult decision-making and adult-related topics, gently re-establish the line. Your child should be separated from adult issues.
Monitor Exposure to Adult Topics
Set limits with regard to the multimedia content that your child is exposed to, including television, music, Internet, games, etc. Although your child may be interested in adult information, set limits about what information is for him/her and what is not.
Avoid Involving Your Child in Adult Relationship Issues
Involving your child in adult relationship issues is very confusing and can cause emotional stress. Keeping adult relationship issues separate from your child draws a line between his/her role and your role, which helps build the child’s sense of security.
Do Not Force Affection
Remember that teaching respect does not mean teaching obedience. Respect your child’s decisions to avoid physical affection. This fosters self-awareness and respects his/her right to make decisions about touching.
Establish Personal Space and Privacy
Establish family privacy for using the bathroom, bathing and changing. Designate a personal space in the home for each person’s belongings (a bedroom, closet, drawers or shelves, etc.).