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10 ways to talk to your kid about sexual abuse

The idea of talking to your kid about sexual abuse probably seems worse than even talking to them about sex. But given the statistics, your child is much more likely to be molested than to be hit by a car when crossing the street. So try thinking of these conversations as being just as important as teaching your child how to cross the road safely.

The idea of someone molesting your child is terrifying for any parent. The pain, fear, and trauma they may experience at such a young age are frightening to consider. It’s enough to make any parent freak out and want to never ever think about it again. And then we hope it will just never happen to our little girl or boy. Except your daughter has a 1 in 4 chance and your son has a 1 in 6 chance of being molested before the age of 18.

Now, you can never protect your child fully from ever being molested. But you can do a lot to reduce your child’s vulnerability to sexual abuse and increase the chances they’ll tell you after something happens. You just need to talk to them directly about it and do it many times.

10 Ways of Approaching the Conversation

1. Frame the conversation for yourself as a way of loving your child;

2. Begin talking to them as young as 2 years old;

3. Teach them the actual names of their private parts;

4. Share the only instances when their private parts can be seen and touched;

5. Teach them their private parts are special;

6. Teach them (and respect) their right to control their bodies;

7. Explain that no one should physically hurt them, especially in their private parts;

8. Encourage them to trust their gut around their safety;

9. Explain that a secret is still a secret when shared with the parents;

10. Tell them that you will believe them if someone is hurting them and they won’t be in trouble;

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February 6, 2014 | by Sandra Kim |Credit: NY Press