April 22, 2024

Educate Your Child to Help Prevent Sexual Abuse: Part Two

Last week we talked about a few ways to educate our children on ways to help prevent child abuse and equip them with skills to report it. This week we’re going to continue with those tips to make sure that our children remain safe and well-educated.


Teach That Body Secrets Are NOT Okay

We’ve previously talked about educating our children that our private parts are private. This helps prepare them for reporting ‘body secrets’ if they happen. A body secret is one where someone touches our body and then tells us to keep it a secret. A perpetrator may tell your child to keep any touching a secret, warning that everyone will get into trouble if they tell anyone. This is also a type of coercion and threating behavior. Children are very trusting. If they’re told to keep a secret about being touched, they’ll know to report it to a trusted adult.

It is also important to emphasize that, if your child is told to keep a secret, that they will not be in trouble. A calm but direct line of questioning can help your child open up if they come to you with a report.

Teach And Demonstrate That “No” Is An Absolute

When they are very young, we teach children ‘yes’ and ‘no’. However, children can be uncomfortable saying ‘no’ to people, especially other adults and older children. They want to be liked by these people, and a ‘no’ means they might not be liked. At home, a child’s refusal to be tickled or played with may be ignored. They may feel that even if they say ‘no’, their words may not be respected; your child feels that their ‘no’ means something. Teach your child to use the word ‘no’ to leave a situation that makes them uncomfortable. Also, teach them that they can tell whoever they are with that they want to leave if they feel uneasy. In situations like this, your children’s words are their biggest weapon.

Teach That Everyone Has To Follow The Rules

Be sure your child is aware that there are almost no exceptions to the ‘no touching’ rule. There is a caveat that a parent may need to touch them in the bath for cleaning or if there is a medical need. Even if the person asking to touch them seems like a ‘good guy’. Predators rarely look like the stereotype of a ‘bad guy’ and can come in many forms. Your child needs to understand that anyone, especially strangers, asking to touch their private parts or being asked to touch the stranger is breaking the rules. This rule applies to their classmates, teachers, and other family members.


We can’t fully prevent child sexual abuse, but educating our children empowers them to fight it. Predators prey on ignorance and blind trust. By providing initial education and fostering an open dialogue about preventing abuse, you will help your child venture into the world safer. It is also not a ‘one time talk’ situation. Be sure to take opportunities to ensure your child knows how to act in real world situations. If your child looks under a stall at a patron in a public bathroom, remind them of boundaries and private parts. If your child ignores another child’s “no” at the playground, remind them that we listen when people say no because we want to be listened to too. Help keep them safe!

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Josh Gillispie