Many parents want to know what they can teach their children to keep them safe. While stranger danger lessons are important, children are far more likely to be in danger from someone they know. It is important to talk with your children about personal safety, starting when they are young.
You can talk to your children about personal safety rules at the same time you talk about rules for crossing the street or safety in the kitchen. Many parents hesitate to talk about personal safety because they do not know what to say or what words to use. While teaching your children the proper names for body parts is helpful, the important thing is to talk with them about safety in whatever words are comfortable for you. You can refer to private parts of the body in whatever words you typically use, or you can refer to “the parts of your body that are covered by your bathing suit.” The important thing is to make sure your children know that no one has a right to touch the private parts of their body or to touch them in a way that makes them uncomfortable.
If someone does try to touch them in an uncomfortable way, they should follow these safety rules:
Tell a grown-up
Talk with your children about whom they can talk to if they have a problem – you, your partner, grandparents, aunts or uncles, a teacher, a family friend or whoever you know will help your child. This will help them feel comfortable talking to someone if there is a problem when you are not around.
Reassure your children that if anyone does touch them in a bad way, it is never the child’s fault, and you want them to tell you about it so that you can help them.