I’m going to go off-topic today and talk about something near & dear to my heart: children’s safety and protection, especially when it comes to abuse. I wrote this on my personal Facebook page but this topic is so important, I wanted to share it here too. As a parent, I have an incredible responsibility to my children to protect them, arm them with knowledge for their own protection, and prepare them to be responsible adults. This can be (is) a scary responsibility sometimes…and one I don’t take lightly.
Please take the opportunity, while sexual assault & consent has been in the news, to talk to your children about consent, bodily rights, private parts, and never to be afraid to tell if anyone has made them feel uncomfortable. This should never be a “one and done” conversation with your kids but should be ongoing, from an early age in age-appropriate ways.
Since our kids were little, my husband and I have talked to our kids about their bodies, using proper terminology for private parts, and talked about respecting other people’s bodies (and property). [I actually found that since we did this from a young age, when I needed to talk to my daughter about puberty and sex, it was easier (and less embarrassing) than I thought it was going to be.] It’s never too late (or too early) to start this knowledge with your children!
I’m sure I’m forgetting points I’ve talked about with my kids but here are the highlights:
Please talk to your kids about:
-Their body is their own property & no one else’s.
-Use proper terms for private areas.
-No one should touch your property (body) without permission.
-You should never touch someone else’s property without permission.
-No one should ever touch/look at your private areas without permission. (We cover that they are too young to give consent.)
-If anyone ever asks to touch/look at your private areas, tell the person NO in a loud voice.
-Never be afraid to tell a trusted adult (principal, teacher, parent(s)) if someone has asked you to do the above. Keep telling until someone believes you.
-If someone tells you to keep a secret or says “I’ll hurt your parent/sibling if you tell”, they are lying and trying to scare you. Never keep a secret.
-Don’t encourage the “boys will be boys” mentality. Everyone deserves to have their voice (and body) heard and respected.
-Always tell your kids you love them & will protect them.
-Make sure your kids have a circle of trusted adults they can talk to besides parent(s). Make sure they know how to contact these trusted adults.
-Don’t rely solely on school or church programs to teach your kids about sexual abuse. These are meant to be supplemental programs – not the main meal.
-Instead of “stranger danger”, talk to your kids about “tricky adults“.
Imagine if everyone taught their kids from a young age about consent & body/property rights…boys & girls. Imagine how the world would be different. Imagine how these children would grow up – respecting their own bodies and respecting other people’s bodies. Imagine how the world would be influenced.
I end with this video, because it sums up well about consent. I welcome your comments, but comments will be closely monitored.