Talking Points for Parents

Tips for Talking with your Kids about Body Safety

Discussing sexual abuse with your children may be an uncomfortable and difficult thing to do, but the alternative puts them at risk of potential harm.  Speaking freely and openly with your children is the best approach.  Treat this like any other body safety rule such as wearing a seat belt in the car or wearing a helmet when riding a bike.  This should be an on-going conversation with your children, starting as young as 2 years of age. 
·         My Body Belongs to Me:  Children often do not realize they are in-charge of their bodies.  They need to know that when it comes to the touching of their bodies, they are in charge. No one can touch them or ask them to touch someone else’s private body parts.  IT IS NOT OKAY.  
·         Privacy Means Just for Me:  There are a lot of private things in our lives.  Purses, wallets, diaries, and passwords to things.  We have private body parts as well. 
·         Proper names: Teach your children where their private body parts are and the actual names of them.  It is important to teach your child about the anatomy of both genders as offenders can be of either sex.  If a child needs to disclose abuse, it is essential the adult understands what the child is referring to, so the adult can get the child the help they need. 
·         If I Don’t Like a Touch Say “STOP”: You can say STOP to anyone who tries to touch you on a private body part:  ANYONE—even someone you know, love, and trust.  It is not okay for them either.
·         Anyone can break body safety Rules: Anyone can break these rules. Children have the strong misconception that only strangers break these rules.  Unfortunately, we must teach them that it can be anyone and that, most times, it is someone they know, love, and trust.  Instead of saying this, we teach, “IT CAN BE ANYONE and IT IS OKAY to say STOP to someone you know, love, and trust”. 
·         Share Times an Adult May Have to Touch a Private Body Part: Sometimes there may be a reason for a private body part to be touched. This would be if someone is helping with diapers or the restroom, helping bathe a child, or in a medical situation.  Make sure the children know even in these times, if the child feels uncomfortable or uneasy, they have the right to say “STOP”
·         Tell a Trusted Adult:  Tell an adult you trust if anyone ever touches, tries to touch you on a private body part, or asks you to touch them.  If someone does not believe you, keep telling.  Someone will help you.  Trusted adults are there to care and help us.  It is their job to help.
·         It Can Never Be My Fault: People who break body safety rules try to scare children to keep them from telling an adult.  No matter what a person says, tell an adult anyway.  It can never be your fault no matter what.