Helping the children
When we talk about how to help a child recognize risk situations, be able to protect themselves and seek help, we need to think about the three main risk factors for sexual abuse. The latter consist of:
- The participating child.
- The participating person who sexually assaults the child.
- The circumstances in which this assault takes place.
The first skill that is important to create in children is to be able to distinguish the dangerous from the safe, the wanted from the unwanted touch. To help the child understand this, we can tell them:
„A wanted touch is pleasant and even beneficial for your body and makes you feel important or important to the one who touches you, that he or she loves you and cares for you.“
„An unwanted touch is when someone who touches you
it causes you something bad or hurts your body or feelings. For example, when someone hits you, pushes you, insults you or
in places that are very personal.
Research shows that most of the children‘s sexual people are people known to the child. That is why the prevention efforts should not only be focused on alien and stranger looking people.
- Tempting with gifts and interesting things to them.
- Threatening and requiring them to keep secret about what happened.
- Treating them with special attention.
It is important to know that risk situations can happen at home, school, in open and uninhabited places on the Internet.
With regard to parental councils there are several important rules on how to speak with the child on topics promoting healthy sexuality and development or traumatic situations and abuse.
- Allow the child to ask you questions about sexuality, showing that this is not a taboo or a shameful topic for you. Do not be terrified, do not resent or worry when your child asks „awkward“ questions. Remember that you can give them the best information they need in order to protect themselves and prepare for adult life.
- Speak with then at appropriate moments about the changes in their body in a calm and understandable way considering their age.
- Teach your child to be critical, questioning and checking the information it has received on the Internet in other media and friends and relatives.
- Discuss peacefully with them and encourage him to turn to people he trusts most if a difficult situation happens or is worried about some danger. Even if you are not you, but their friends.
- Teach your child to talk about the subject of sexuality and other problems without shame, guilt or fear.
The child must know that their body is their own and no one can touch them without their permission. It should know the difference between „good touch“ and „bad touch“:
No one has the right to touch the children when it is not pleasant for them, especially their intimate parts, except for the purposes of hygiene or healthcare. If we say that to the children, it can help them tell an adult person who might be touching them in an inappropriate way.
When we teach our children about what touch is right and safe, it is up to us what terminology to use for the most intimate parts of the body. It is advisable to use their anatomical names:
- For the boys the intimate parts of the body are the penis and buttocks.
- For the girls, the intimate parts of the body are the vulva, vagina, chest and buttocks.
For better visualization in children, the intimate parts of the body can be referred to as „these parts of the body that are covered by the swimsuit.“
The correct names for parts of the body, including the genitals and reproductive organs are: penis, testicles, scrotum, anus, vulva, labia, vagina, clitoris, uterus and ovaries.
Knowing the appropriate anatomical names of body parts promotes a child‘s positive image of their body, supports their self-esteem and improves communication between parent and child. It also gives children the language they need to speak to a trusted adult if sexual abuse has occurred.
How does reproduction happen?
You can tell the child: „When sperm joins an egg, the baby grows in the uterus and is born through the vagina.“
- Teach children not to touch things like used condoms or syringes. Now is the time to teach them not to lift anything off the ground if they don‘t know what it is or if they think it can be dangerous.
- Tell them about the importance of hygiene and self-care when puberty begins. Give them basic information about the changes in their body during puberty. Explain to them the structure of other parts and functions of the body: urine, feces, bladder and urethra.