The holidays can be such a fun time with our kids. We build memories, create rituals, focus on what’s most meaningful. Sexual abuse prevention and the nagging thought that “I really should talk to my kids about this” is rarely on our minds during the holidays. But during this season, as you spend extra time with friends and relatives, be aware that you need to be thinking about protecting your kids as well. Statistics show that children are much more likely to be sexually abused by someone they know and even trust–including older kids at various parties you attend during the holidays–than by some creepy guy in a van.
Since one-fourth of girls and one-sixth of boys are victims of sexual abuse, this isn’t something we should think we’re immune to. Now is the time to educate yourself and empower your kids so they know how to respond if they’re in an inappropriate situation. Talking to them won’t spoil the holiday spirit, and it will make you feel better knowing that you’ve begun these important conversations.
Don’t know what to say? Don’t want to scare them? I’ve got help for you. In the video below, Greg and I visit with Pattie Fitzgerald, founder of Safely Ever After, Inc., about how to not only keep our kids safe, but empower them against sexual abuse. Also, here’s an article I wrote about the subject in the past.
Many parents never talk to their daughters about domestic violence and partner abuse.
For some, it’s because they don’t think it could happen. But research shows that it’s irresponsible to think that any young woman is immune to partner abuse. In fact, while statistics vary, estimates indicate that as many as half of women will be victims of domestic violence at some point. So please don’t say, “It couldn’t happen to my girl.”
Other parents avoid the subject because they feel they simply don’t have enough knowledge to know how to address the situation. So let’s talk about some ways you can arm your daughter against an abusive romantic relationship.
Teach her that she’s a strong, competent individual.
Build your daughter’s sense of self-worth and confidence. You can do this in many different ways: give her opportunities to Continue Reading »
[Update: I recently discussed this subject more fully on the web show I co-host, "The Intentional Parent." Click here to see the episode.]
Some friends and I recently discussed a news story about a little girl who had been abducted from her home, sexually assaulted, and murdered by a registered sex offender. As we talked, it was apparent that we all struggle with whether, when, and how to talk to our small children about sexual abuse. Because it’s such a difficult thing to think about, and because we’re typically not very educated about sexual abuse ourselves, we often feel unsure about how to approach the topic with our kids.
But we really have to. Silence puts them at risk.
So let me give you some quick information about sexual abuse in general, and then I’ll make some suggestions about proactively preventing it. It’s our job to empower our kids against sexual abuse, and knowledge—both our own, and theirs—is crucial.
Factors Associated with Child Sexual Abuse:
Sometimes we aren’t sure if and when we should talk to our kids about something. For many parents, subjects related to sexuality, race, and other uncomfortable topics can fall into this category. I was talking to someone the other day who said she’d never want to talk to her kids about masturbation. This post isn’t at all about the particular topic of masturbation—it’s about an important parenting issue.
When our kids are developmentally ready for a particular topic, and/or they could be exposed to it at school or somewhere else, parents should open the door to conversation about the topic. Let’s continue with the topic of masturbation for argument’s sake. For sure by junior high, if not before, Continue Reading »