Talking Points for Parents

Tips for Talking with your Kids about Body Safety

Discussing sexual abuse with your child may be an uncomfortable and difficult thing to do, but the alternative puts them in potential harm. Smart Steps: A Body Safety Program for Children has opened the door for you to start and continue these very important conversations with your child.

  • Begin talking to them as young as 2 years old:  When giving a bath, tell them where their private parts are and that a parent is seeing and touching them to bathe them but normally, nobody should.
  • Teach them the actual names of their private parts:  This gives them the right words to use if someone is hurting them.  Also, an abuser can be either gender so teach both male & female anatomy.
  • Share the only instances when their private parts can be seen and touched:  An age appropriate concept for a young child to understand is that nobody - including a parent or caregiver-should see or touch their private parts - unless they’re keeping them clean, safe, or healthy.
  • Explain that a secret is still a secret when shared with parents:  Many abusers tell victims that what happened is a secret and not to tell anyone, especially their parents.  It’s important to teach early on that secrets related to private parts always need to be shared with mom or dad.
  • Encourage your child to trust their gut:  Tell your child before social events that if they ever feel uncomfortable with someone - to let you know.  Let them know their safety comes before the need to be “polite”.

 

Four key points covered in the Smart Steps Program:

  • Your child's body belongs to him/her & every child has the right to say "NO" to an unwelcome touch.
  • Brief identification of private body parts and their proper names.
  • It could never, ever be a child’s fault if someone touched him/her on a private body part “for no good reason or just to play a game.”
  • It is extremely important to tell someone (like a parent or teacher) about any touches that make them uncomfortable.

Periodically review these important safety points with your child in a casual and comfortable setting (e.g., while driving in the car, hanging out at home, etc.) and speak from a calm, casual, and loving frame of mind.  It’s also important to not treat the subject like its taboo or dirty. It helps set the stage for your child to come to you with future questions or concerns they may have.