Molestation is always in the news. It always will be. Whether it’s a pastor with a dirty secret, a politician with a past, a broken woman or just your everyday working man…somebody is hurting a child somewhere. Every day.
So, instead of harping on the details of the latest scandal, I want to compile a list of ways that YOU, dear parent, can protect YOUR child from sexual molestation.
This is first and foremost the most important thing we can do for our children; pray for their protection.
2. Listen to your Gut
Whether you want to calling ‘instinct’, ‘the Holy Spirit’, ‘your gut’, or ‘being led’ — listen to what your little alarm inside your head is saying. Don’t rationalize that voice of warning away! Especially when it is about a certain person.
3. Realize that it CAN happen to your child
Your child is NEVER exempt from the possibility of childhood molestation. If you think that they are, you are walking into a trap of denial that could have catostrophic consequences.
4. Talk to your child about sexual molestation
Be honest. Tell your child about ‘bad people’ who touch little kids. Don’t mince words, it is better they are freaked out by your words than freaked out by another person’s actions.
5. Ask specific questions
If you have allowed your child to spend the night or play someplace, ask pointed questions like:
- Did anyone touch you someplace private?
- Did anyone ask you to keep a secret?
Just because they have gone someplace a million times doesn’t mean you should stop asking those two questions often.
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6. Be careful of older siblings and their playmates
If you have a teen that is hitting puberty, don’t be afraid to talk to them about any strange feelings they might have towards their younger siblings. It’s better to have an awkward talk than accidentally finding out that your older child is experimenting on your younger child. (Refer to #3)
While you might implicitly trust your older child, that doesn’t mean you can implicitly trust their friends. Make sure you ask questions and put appropriate boundaries in place when an older sibling has playmates over.
This goes for the older siblings and playmates of your children’s friends as well.
7. Avoid closed doors, especially in rooms with beds
Children are often curious about the body parts of others. The comfort of a closed door and a bed can tempt them to explore their curiosity.
8. If you allow sleepovers, send your children two-by-two if possible.
We don’t allow sleepovers anymore except in emergencies, but if you do allow sleepovers it might be prudent to send two children at a time so that indiscretions are less likely to happen.
9. Spend time with your child
A child that is secure in their relationship with their parent is less likely to need dangerous attention from others.
Also, be present even when you aren’t interacting with your child. Keep an ear out for what they are saying when they are playing with friends or siblings.
10. Monitor what your child is allowed to watch on TV, read or do on the internet
As the old adage goes, ‘garbage in, garbage out’ is a perfect way to look at what a child has access to. If they are allowed to watch ‘R’-rated movies, be aware that whatever they absorb they have the ability to act out. Also know what your children’s friends area allowed to watch, because your children could be exposed to it when they visit.
For more information about what to do to minimize sexual molestation or what to do if you suspect your child has been molested visit these websites:
- Parent Tips for Preventing and Identifying Child Sexual Abuse – American Academy of Pediatrics
- Childhood Prevention Plan – Childhood Molestation Research and Prevention Institute
- 5 Tips to Protect Your Child From Sexual Abuse – RAINN, Rape Abuse Incest National Network
Also, Visit Family Watchdog to know if there is a sexual predator in your neighborhood