Monday, May 19, 2014

Reframing Child Abuse Prevention for Parents & Caregivers

To be effective in preventing child abuse, we need a unified team of supporters in our children's lives. We need to share the same messages with our children. Some good ones to start with are:

  • Children are allowed to show affection at their own pace. Just because they LOVE their Aunt Julia doesn't mean they are ready to hug or kiss her, or that they always want to do so. Help others in their lives understand that by letting your child choose how they show affection helps protect them against sexual abuse!
  • We don't keep secrets in our family. Helping children distinguish between a secret and a surprise can help them understand that they should always tell if something happens that worries them, regardless of what others may say.
  • "No" means "no." Demonstrating that you respect their body sovereignty at a young age can be powerful. Examples can range from a child squealing "No!" when being tickled and stopping to check and see if s/he really wants you to stop, to discussing when you need to help them with their hygiene, nutritional health, or crossing the street. 

The above is an excerpt from “Reframing Child Abuse Prevention for Parents & Caregivers.” IMPACT Personal Safety newsletter, April 2014 by Alena Schaim, Executive Director, IMPACT Personal Safety New Mexico.

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