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Parenting to Prevent Abuse

pic2Parenting to Prevent Abuse
Most parents today express concerns about child abuse, how to recognize it and prevent it.  Perhaps the single greatest deterrent to abuse is communication and talking to children from the time they are very young through adolescence.  Parents who communicate, encourage and model are much more likely to raise strong, empowered children.

Talking to a child about abuse, particularly sexual abuse, is a frightening proposition for many parents.  While this fear is understandable, there are a number of ways parents can talk to children that will help them feel safer and more confident rather then fearful and mistrusting.

When and Where
It is important to find the right time and place to talk with children about abuse and its prevention.

When and Where: Full Article

Finding The Words
Words should be chosen for their "low fear quotient." Using words like "safe and unsafe touching" instead of rape or sexual abuse is more comfortable, and it encompasses a range of abusive actions versus just one.

Finding the Words: Full Article

The Focus
The best way to increase confidence and reduce fear is to focus the conversation on what a child can do if faced with a dangerous or uncomfortable situation.

The Focus: Full Article

Self Confidence
Self-confidence plays a big role in our ability to do anything.

Self Confidence: Full Article

Effective safety skills don't happen over night. Skills and information learned must be reviewed. Children, like adults, need "refreshers." Review safety skills before your child goes on independent activities. In this way, information will be fresh for the child in case he or she needs to use it.

Children learn and retain information differently based on their ages and developmental stages. Parents need to continue abuse prevention information throughout childbearing, from preschool up to and including high school.

Prevention Skills
All children should have a variety of options available to them if faced with a threading situation. The following list should be reviewed by parents and then, when opportunity arise, discussed with each child.

Prevention Skills: Full Article

Safe Touching
We hear a lot about unsafe touching. The newspapers are filled with stories of sexual abuse. Many parents, especially dads, worry about touching their children for fear it will be misinterpreted. Stop worrying! All of us need to be touched. Physical affection helps us feel love. Hugging and kissing, in non-sexual ways is important to their development. Hug you children often - They like to feel close. Remind your children that safe touches like these never have to be kept secret.

Spanking children is controversial. Many professionals say never spank, while others affirm spanking as a parenting tool.

Spanking: Full Article

Stranger Danger
When you grew up, your mom or dad probably told you not to take candy from strangers, and that was the end of the abuse prevention lesson.

Stranger Danger: Full Article

Age-Appropriate Information
At different ages children need different information. Elementary school age children need information about independent activities. Preschoolers don't, since they should always be supervised. Teens need information about dating safety, while elementary school children do not. It is important for parents to use and add appropriate information which is based on the age and independence of the child or teen.

Safe, Strong, and Free
All parents want their children to grow up feeling Safe, Strong, and Free. Parenting is a difficult task. It takes practice. Communication is the most important tool parents have to ensure their children's health and safety. Listening to children and talking honestly with them provide a good foundation for practicing prevention skills. Every child has the right to grow up free from abuse.

1995 by the International Center for Assault Prevention.


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