WHAT TO TEACH YOUR CHILD
Teach the Correct Names of Body Parts
Teaching your child the correct names for body parts enhances communication between adults and children, and is especially important if your child needs to disclose an experience of sexual abuse or inappropriate contact.
Encourage Your Child to Take Ownership of His/Her Body
Once your child is able, teach him/her to dress, bath, wash and toilet him/herself. This will teach your child the boundaries around privacy. As s/he becomes more independent, respect his/her privacy.
Teach Assertiveness Create opportunities for your child to practice matching his/her body language with strong verbal messages that demonstrate they mean business (NO!, Stop!, I don’t like that!, etc)
Teach Your Child to Tell You if Someone Tries to Cross His/Her Personal Boundaries
This may include someone:
- Asking to touch your child’s private parts (or asking him/her to touch another person’s private parts)
- Wanting to look at your child’s private parts (or asking him/her to look at another person’s private parts)
- Wanting to take naked pictures of your child (or to show him/her naked pictures of others)
- Telling your child sexual jokes or talking to your child about sex
- Going to the bathroom in front of your child
- Wanting to bathe your child
- Making the child feel scared, hurt, sad, or uncomfortable
Talk About Secrets
Explain the difference between secrets that are healthy and can be kept and secrets that are unsafe and should be told to a safe adult.
Identify Safe Adults
Help your child identify safe adults in his/her life who can help. It is important that your child knows exactly who to turn to during times of distress and when they want to share something that is important to them.
Teach About Healthy Relationships Between Adults and Children
Discuss what friendship is and what friendship is not. Offenders may use the idea of friendship to increase a child’s compliance and reduce the likelihood of disclosure. Discuss qualities of friendship with your child. As children reach grade six, move the conversation with your child to a discussion about healthy and unhealthy relationships. A child responds to attention and affection, which can be used by offenders to manipulate him/her into compliance. Discuss the difference between cooperative and coercive relationships.
Teach your Child How to Identify and Label His/Her Feelings
Encourage your child to identify and label feelings. This will promote self-monitoring and increase self-awareness.