I just wanted to put this out there because another post got me thinking about a guest speaker we had at our MOPS group. I really learned a lot from her. Here are some tips that will keep your children safe. Please read and pass on.
1. Explain to your children from a very young age that no one should see or touch their private body parts except mom or dad or a doctor, if mom or dad is there. You can explain this to younger children by telling them that any part of their body that a swimsuit covers is a private part.
2. Never disregard your childs feelings. If your child feels scared don't tell them that they are okay. Telling them this will make them think their feelings don't matter and if a potential preditor is touching them in any way, they will learn to feel that if someone tells them they are okay then the behavior is okay as well.
3. Never make your child do something he/she doesn't want to. Be your childs advocate, they have no one else! This ties into #2 as well. This one hit home for me because I totally didn't think of it this way! This can either be a stranger or someone you know including a family member. If you are out with your child and someone comes up to you and starts talking to you and your child or asking to hold your child and they feel scared and don't want to go don't tell them that it's okay or force them to go to that person. That applies to family members that want kisses, do not force your child to hug or kiss a family member. If a child doesn't feel right about a situation, they have the right to say so. If you disregard their feelings now, they might not know when their put in a bad situation. If grandma says "give me a kiss" and your child doesn't want to make sure you say...we'll I guess he/she just doesn't want to right now, maybe later. That will reassure you child that you are aware of their feelings and they weren't comfortable with the situation so they didn't have to feel pressured. Before I heard this I probably would have made my son, but I think of things differently now. Most people would have just said "Just give your granny a kiss" Most children are molested by someone they know and most times it's a family member.
4. Keep a family rule that there will be no secrets. This will prevent preditors telling children "this will be our little secret" it will also help if another child at their school is being harassed and they tell your child. Your child will know there is no secrets and be more likely to tell you and get help for that other child.
5. As always tell a child to never talk to strangers or go with them for any reason. If you have to, make up a secret family code word so that if anyone ever says their picking them up because their mom asked them to they can ask what the code word is and if they don't know it they don't go. Thankfully, most schools have to verify ID before kids can leave with anyone other than the guardian.
6. Most important, be involved. Talk to your children, know what their doing, where they are going and keep close ties on what their doing on the internet. Those of you with older children, explain why it's important not to give out any personal information to anyone on the internet. You never know who is on the other side of that screen.
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