The instances of sexual crimes against children are on the rise. The Internet has given abusers a new platform on which they can freely exchange thoughts, pictures, videos, etc. with likeminded criminals. While there is no sure way to protect your children from the dangers of the world, there are some things that can make abuse less likely.
Trust Your Instincts
If a person or a situation seems strange to you, do not subject your child to it. There are instances in which our instincts or gut feelings send us warning signs. For the sake of your children, listen to your feelings and don’t subject your child to a situation or person that you are not 100% comfortable with.
Have a Strong Bond With Your Child
Try to create a bond with your child that is so strong that he/she feels as though he/she can talk to you about anything. The stronger the connection you have with your child, the more likely you will be to pick up on any behavioral changes in your child, which could be signs of abuse.
Talk to Your Child
Even though this is a very uncomfortable topic for most parents, it is imperative that children learn from an early age that they should never tolerate being touched in any way that makes them feel uncomfortable. Children should also know what course of action to take in such a situation, e.g. telling a teacher, the parent, etc. and that they will never be punished for telling.
Don’t Leave Your Child With Strangers
I may be stating the obvious, but do not be overly trusting with people. Never leave your child with someone you don’t know very well. I would also advise against leaving your child with someone you do know well, if you are unfamiliar with the other people who live in the household. For example, the teenager who babysits for you might be wonderful, while her father may be far from nice.
Listen to Your Child
Most importantly, listen to your child! Believe your children when they tell you that they have experienced abuse. Unfortunately, most instances of abuse are reported to have taken place in the child’s immediate environment, i.e. family members and close friends or neighbors. None of us want to believe that the people we know and love would be capable of such disgusting actions, but the people who abuse children all are ‘regular’ people with jobs and families and friends. Our children have nobody else to protect them- they rely solely on us. If they tell us that someone is abusing or mistreating them in any way, we must take action immediately! Please keep in mind that this can always include your own spouse. Your children should always come first, no matter what the situation. They need our protection…