This week we are discussing how to keep your child safe from predators. This is such an important topic. Many children who are sexually abused are done so by someone they know. We can never be too safe when it comes to talking to our kids about this in order to keep them informed. They need to understand that unfortunately people might try to hurt them.
As Teri said, it’s important to have a balance. You don’t want them so afraid that everything is fearful to them. But they need to understand that bad things can happen, and yes, even from people we know. The key is helping them prevent it AND understanding what to do if something does happen. Here are two more tips to help you talk to your children and other parents.
Have open conversations about your children’s outside relationships.
Ask them questions like, “What did you today at the neighbors?” And when they talk, LISTEN! They will usually tell you (when they are little). As they grow older, stay engaged in these conversations, so it feels natural for them to share with you. “How is Fred doing? I haven’t heard you talk about him in awhile. Is he still dating Sandy?” Just showing interest in them will help them open up more about where they have been, what happened, and what their friends are doing. At any age, ask about any significant adults in their lives: teachers, coaches, club leaders, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Anyone they spend a lot of time with.
Have specific safety measures in place for sleep overs and NEVER let your child stay somewhere that you do not know the parents.
Make sure doors stay open and that the children and parents understand this. Let the parents know your guidelines as far as computer, internet, and tv shows. Are there older siblings in the home? If so, what are the guidelines or sleeping arrangements with your child there?
It may feel like you are “weird” because many parents don’t do these things or ask these questions. But you need to ask yourself what is more important: you feeling uncomfortable or your child's safety?
We hope these tips have been helpful this week. Tomorrow Joleen will share 2 more. Thank you for reading!
Written by Natalie Chandler
Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville