Body Safety Tips for your Children
Hi everyone. I’m Chelsie and you can find me and my family at @Lifewiththedorts on Instagram. And today I wanted to take a second and talk about body safety. With so many people returning to school, face-to-face and with so many other interactions in their lives, I think it’s especially important that we talk to our children about the importance of body safety and which types of conversations and interactions are appropriate and not appropriate. So, I wanted to talk about six things that we do in our home to keep our children safe from sexual abuse and encourage body safety.
The first thing is to teach your children the anatomical names of their body parts. Every family has that name that they call everything, and for children that can get confusing. So, by teaching your children the anatomical names of their body parts, in the event that something were to happen, your children could accurately tell you what they experienced and what happened.
The next thing is secrets are bad and surprises are good. I would never tell my children, “I got dad new golf clubs for his birthday. Don’t tell him; it’s a secret.” I would say, “Shh, it’s a surprise.” Now, our children understand that if someone were to say, “This is your and I secret. This is something that we need to keep secret.” That they would need to tell their parents.
The next thing is that our children’s bodies are theirs. No one should be allowed to touch their body regardless of anything they need to tell them. The only exceptions to that rule are: certain doctor’s visits, in which our children would be notified in advance that that could be contact that they would expect; and if they are experiencing discomfort and pain and they ask their parents for help. Other than that, any type of contact needs to be disclosed to an adult.
The next thing that we do is talk to any adult that will be alone with our children on a one-on-one basis. So, for example, my oldest son was in therapy and because he was going to be in a one-on-one setting with his therapist on a regular basis, I made sure to tell her that we have regular conversations about body safety; that our children understand that secrets are bad and that if anything inappropriate were to happen that Jax would know to come and talk to me.
The therapist was not offended. She understood why we had that conversation with her, and she said that she felt that that conversation would help keep Jaxton safe in the future, as well as our other children.
We had this similar conversation with babysitters and other adults that are children will be around regularly because that makes it so that those people that may hurt our children understand that our children will not keep a secret and they will get caught.
After that, the next thing is to have regular conversations that initiate conversation with your children. Ask questions, “What did you talk about with your friends today?” “What types of games did you play?” “Did you see your friend’s parents today? How are they?”
Make sure that you’re having conversations with your children because sometimes it’s just hard for children to initiate conversations.
The last thing is that our children understand that they don’t have to be directly involved for something to be wrong. Our children have the ability to hear and/or see things that they know to be inappropriate. Because of that, we have asked our kids to come and talk to us if they see or hear something that they have learned is not okay. We’ve done that for two reasons: first, I want to evaluate the seriousness of what my child was telling me. Sometimes my son will say something, and I’ll say, “I think you misunderstood the situation.” And then I can have that conversation with him; that I’m still glad that he told me.
Next, if something is serious, I want to be able to have a one-on-one conversation with an adult at his school, so that I can make sure that it’s taken seriously instead of being pushed under the rug because it came from a child.
Now, those are six things that we do in our household to encourage body safety with our children and make sure that they understand inappropriate and appropriate types of contact that are out there. So, with the new school year starting, with everything else that we’ve got going on, make sure you have those conversations with your children and make sure that they know they are in charge of their own bodies.