Special Reports - Tips For Your Children's Well-Being

This is a sensitive but important area that is often avoided by many programs. By following these guidelines, you will give your children powerful tools for avoiding abuse. While it is true that offenders who molest children will use force or threats, offenders often try to manipulate children into going with them willingly.

It’s The Law!

Establish That Sexual Advances By Adults Are Against The Law Explain that adults have rules they must follow called laws. Laws were made to protect all people including children. Adults who break the law are punished. Ask your children if the following acts are against the law:
-Robbing a bank
-Speeding in a car
-Giving children candy
-Playing with matches
-Watching two children fighting
-Touching a child’s private parts (areas covered by a swimsuit)
Remember--Adults Who Break The Law Are Punished! What do we call a person who tries to hurt children or touches a child’s private parts (wait for a few replies)? A child abuser.

Who Are The Abusers? (Abusers are anyone who tries to hurt you)

Who are the abusers? You will get a wide range of answers from “Bad strangers “ to “Men wearing all black” to “Men wearing masks” to “An abuser can be anyone (correct answer)”. Are all abusers bad? Absolutely yes!. Are all abusers strangers? No! Abusers can be someone you know. All abusers are
dangerous!

Stay Out Of My Space!
Ask your children if anyone ever stood so close to them that it made them uncomfortable. Begin by talking to your child at a reasonable distance while asking if he/she feels comfortable talking to you. Take a few steps closer and ask the same question (you should receive a negative response). Have your child stand up and hold both arms up and out from their sides. Have them twirl around in a circle and explain that this is their safety circle and no one is allowed in the safety circle without their permission. Explain that it is OK to say no to an adult who tries to get into their safety circle.

No Secrets Role Play
Ask your children “Who wants to know the secret of Karate?” They will raise their hands. Then say “It’s a secret. Promise not to tell anyone even your friends and not even your parents? If you promise, I will whisper the secret.” Tell them that you just fooled them and that sometimes adults can fool kids. Have them repeat “Never keep secrets from your Mom or Dad!” Repeat that phrase until everyone says it with confidence. This is one of the most important prevention tools we can teach.
Listen To Your Inner Voice
Explain that no one has the right to touch you if it makes you feel uncomfortable. An uncomfortable feeling is your inner voice telling you that something isn’t right and this is making me feel bad. Refer to the swim suit example. Explain that very long hugs, too frequent embraces or caresses also can feel uncomfortable; especially if your inner voice tells you this doesn’t seem right.

Child Abuse Safety For Kids
Exercise One- Unwanted Touch!
You may use this as a role play if you feel comfortable and confident in your ability not to offend your child. If not simply read the questions and review the correct answers. Sit on the floor behind your child and rub their shoulders.

Then say:
If someone is rubbing your shoulders and it doesn’t feel right, what should you
say?
“Stop!” or “Stop that!”

What if the person pretends that they didn’t hear you and keeps on rubbing?
More forceful--”Stop that right now!”

What if the person says “Come on, you know you like this.” or “I’m just trying to
show you how much I like you.”?
Stop or I’ll tell!

Stop rubbing and act hurt. Ask what if the person says “I was just trying to be
nice. You hurt my feelings.” Ask your child if it is Ok to hurt an adults feelings?
Yes, it’s OK to be forceful when you feel uncomfortable.

Frown and say to your child “You better not tell or something really bad is going to
happen to you.” Should you still tell? Yes! Always tell your parents or a trusted adult about touching that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Home Practice(Required Reading For Parents)
Personal Power
We can teach children to protect themselves from sexual abuse by explaining the dangers in a matter-of- fact way. Instill in them a sense of their own power to say “No!” or to leave or call for help when faced with a threatening person or situation. Never insist that a reluctant child kiss a relative or friend of the family.

This teaches the child that adults expect him to submit to unwanted familiarity. The youngster who learns early to be selective about friendships, touching, and other expressions of affection is prepared to fend off unwanted attentions and invitations. Encourage children to value privacy and personal space. They also should know they can talk to you freely about their thoughts and feelings. Don’t stifle the child’s ability to give and receive affection.

And don’t instill an inappropriate mistrust of adults. The younger the child, the more attention you must pay to this. Teach children to trust their feelings and to let affection come naturally.

What Every Child Should Know
There is a difference between good, bad, and confusing touch. Know how to tell the difference. Parents should know that pre-school children don’t always understand the concepts of good touch or bad touch. Studies show that young children can understand feelings connected with extreme experiences such as being hit “bad” being hugged “good.” Young children are often confused by situations that fall between the two extremes.

Most sexual abuse involves gentle fondling and is accompanied by gentle and caring words. Very young children may have difficulty perceiving this as “bad” touch.
Check Your Neighborhood For Sex Offenders
www.nsopr.gov

Home practice(Required Reading For Parents)
Child Sexual Abuse Statistics
-Every two minutes a child is sexually assaulted.
-50-90% of child sexual assaults are never reported.
-Often there are NO physical signs.
-One in four girls and one in six boys are victimized by age 18.
-In 1998, there were 108,360 substantiated sexual abuse cases.
-61% of reported rapes were committed against victims under age 17.
-85% of the time, the child knows and trusts the abuser.
-Sexual abuse crosses all socio-economic and religious boundaries.
-Silence protects the abuser and allows the victimization to continue

Some guidelines when you suspect a child experienced sexual abuse
-Keep calm. Never panic or overreact.
-Believe the child. Never doubt the child.
-Reassure the child. Never blame the child.
-Listen to and answer the child’s questions honestly.
-Never pressure the child to talk or avoid talking about the abuse.
-Respect the child’s privacy. Never discuss the abuse in front of unnecessary people.
-Never confront the offender.
-Report the abuse immediately.

Check Your Neighborhood For Sex Offenders
www.nsopr.gov

 

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