Children are Innocent, Predators are Not! This blog post isn’t to sell books, rather it is to inform and help children, parents, family, and educators. Children are Innocent, Predators are Not! I’m not sure, but I think I likely could say that phrase every day, numerous times each day. Children are Innocent, Predators are Not! As a parent, educator, or authority figure in a child’s life, it is up to us to protect our children. Holidays should be a special time of year, filled with the magic of Christmas and celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus. Family gatherings are nice, but on occasion, you may notice one child who is nervous or acts afraid around certain people. Hence this post you now see. I will use excerpts from my book, Suzy Has A Secret, to help explain what we can do to help our children.
“Suzy Has A Secret by S. Jackson with A. Raymond is a children’s story about educating them on self-awareness and inappropriate behavior. The story is simple and easy to read to children. It’s important to allow children the opportunity to learn what should and should not be done to them by family members. Suzy did not like the game of tickling that Uncle Bob played with her when her parents weren’t around. Suzy did not want to keep the secret from her parents, but Uncle Bob made her feel that she couldn’t tell anyone about the way he touched her. Although the story is short, it has a powerful message because all children should know the importance of not allowing anyone, young or old, to touch their bodies.
Children have a right to be happy and understand what should not be happening when Mommy and Daddy aren’t around. The portion of the story designed for Parents and Educators was a good read because it reaffirmed that children have the right to know that their private areas are off limits and that when playing no one should ever touch those areas. When dealing with children, it’s important to ensure they understand at an early age that they can talk to their parents about anything and not be scared. Abusers use manipulation when abusing children to keep them from telling their parents, that’s why parents need to have a strong bond with their children to make them feel comfortable. One thing I learned is that you should not ask a lot of questions if you suspect abuse, but rather ask simple questions for the best and most reliable answers.” Tiffany Davis for Readers’ Favorite
For Parents and Educators
The following are good ways for moms and dads to teach kids about good touch bad touch.
Children own their own bodies, and tell them that no one has the right to touch them unless it’s okay with them. Teach them their body parts that are private and they will learn the difference between someone holding their hand versus touching a private area. Tell them that they have the right to say no if they don’t want their hand held and or to be given a hug. Children should be taught that their body belongs to them and no one can touch it without their permission.
Children have the right to refuse a hug, kiss or a touch from anyone, including those who they love. Children should be taught to say “No”, immediately and to get away from unsafe situations and to tell their parents or teacher. Stress that they should persist until someone takes the matter seriously. Teach your child that he/she is to say “No” to anyone who touched them in a way they didn’t like. Your child may like hugs from you, the parent, but they need to be free to say no to other relatives or friends, if they feel uncomfortable. Children need to be taught that if someone touches them, and they feel bad about it, they need to know it is because that touch was a bad touch. Kids should be taught to trust how they feel in these situations. It is important that the child know that abuse is still abuse even if the touch doesn’t feel bad to them.
Always use age appropriate language. When children start to be curious about their body, tell them the correct names for each area. This way, if something was to happen, they would know the name of the area and be able to tell a parent or a teacher.
Keep your conversation light and comfortable. If children are comfortable, they will ask questions. Bath time is a great time to talk with children. Children don’t always see the difference between good touch and bad touch. Teach your child that it is not okay if someone looks at or touches their private parts and asks them to look at or touch someone else’s private parts.
Use the swimsuit rule and tell children that the areas of their body that their swimsuit covers are their private areas and that no one should be looking or touching those areas. Tell them to tell their Mom or Dad, or a grownup, if someone touches them in a private area. Sometimes, the abuser will start with stroking a child’s hair or neck. Even though these areas aren’t private ones, if the child doesn’t like this touch, they can say no, and tell their parents. Children need to know and be able to tell their parent of any touch anywhere that they don’t like.
Explain safe touch to your child and tell them that, sometimes, they might have to visit a doctor, and that, parents and doctors might have to touch them. Give them examples of doctors listening to the child’s heart, touching their tummy, and giving them a shot.
Abusers use secrets as their main tactic with children. Teach your child the difference between good and bad secrets. If the secret is not telling someone what their birthday present is, then they know it is a good secret. However, if a child feels sad, anxious, or fearful about a secret, they need to be taught that it is a bad secret. They need to tell a parent, teacher or a policeman, and feel safe in doing so.
Children must be able to talk with a trusted adult, and that the adults need to allow for the child to tell them, and to listen to what the child has to say. Children need to be taught how to go for or who to go to in telling their story, when their parent(s) aren‘t around. It is important to have a safety network in place and that the child and the adults know their roles.
Whether you live in a city or smaller rural area, known perpetrators live in your area. A list of registered offenders for your zip code can be found online at your state’s website. Teach your child the basic rules such as to never get into a car with a stranger, never accept gifts, money, candy, or invitations from a stranger.
Unfortunately, in many cases, the perpetrator is someone known to the child. As such, it is especially hard for young children to understand that someone who knows them could abuse them.
Children need to be taught that adults in their school are able to help them, and that they can talk to any adult in charge.
What do you do if you suspect abuse has occurred? First, don’t be angry with your child, and make sure they don’t feel like they did anything wrong or bad. Be careful with your questions, and keep them simple. If the child sees you angry or sad, they might not tell you the whole story. Children need to know that you will do something about this, and then you need to report this to the proper authorities, as well as a child specialist who can help them with their feelings.