There is no promise with certainty that our children can be absolutely safe yet there are certain steps that each parent should take to prevent sexual abuse on their children and keep them safe. Do your part, leave the rest to the Almighty Protector.
1.Form a friendship with your daughter
Right from infant age right to teenage age, you and your daughter should be so close that they should know that whatever problem they have, mummy is the one to tell.
How can you do that?
Give your child your undivided attention. Assign time to keep the phone away, switch off the TV if need be and converse with your child. Listen more, talk less, judge not .
Communicate rather than lecture. Talk of feelings, sharing experiences of people or yourself. This helps them share with you their thoughts and experiences. Be your child’s best friend.
2. Have the sex talk
How do you have a sex talk with a three year old child? Tell them about their private parts, that they are private. No one should touch them even playfully. Use their language, eg “Don’t allow anyone to touch your wiiwii.”
Step by step. By teenage, the talk should be candid.
Answer all the questions asked, age appropriately of course. If you don’t answer satisfactorily, they might inquire from other people who could possibly be the predators. Do not be shy or dismissive.
Be close to the teenager and assure them that you if anything happened, your first words would be, “I believe you.” Lack of trust by parents can cause silent suffering on the abuse victim and possibly more abuse.
3. Bad behaviour
Avoid playful spanking of the child or a innocent tickle on the thigh. If you respect their body, they will know how important it is not to allow others to touch them too.
They too should be taught to respect other children’s bodies and that touching people on their private parts is wrong.
Avoid dressing or bathing your child in front of people. Let them know their nakedness is very private. It does not matter whether those around are relatives. Most sexual predators are the closest to the children.
Do not shower or change your clothes in front of the child. Let them know that it is very wrong for an adult to expose their nudity to them.
Do not allow your child sit on a stranger’s laps.
4. Observe those who live around your child
Yes, you need caregivers but that doesn’t mean that you should give them all your trust especially when handling your child.
Observe the interaction of your kids with other close adults keenly. One can easily note the tell- tale signs. Watch how your child behaves around them. Is there fear? unusual closeness? a constant need for the two to want to be away from others? Is your gut telling you something?
Be keen as your child talks about their teacher? If they fear them, be so approachable that they can tell you why. If they adore their teacher, know why too.
Then, let the teacher know that you are so and so’s parent and that your first priority in life is that child. Remember, the abandoned sheep is the easiest target by the hungry wolves.
5. Provide a safe environment for your child
It is saddening that some mothers chose to live with paedophiles in their house just for the title ‘wife.’
Others give the excuse of ‘he is the provider!” So they let the idiotic husbands have their way with the innocent children.
There is no excuse for exposing your child to a sexual predator. Period. Better to eat grass but be safe than eat grilled meat while suffering. Plus, your child will never forgive you for not protecting them.
On that note too, isn’t it disheartening to see a five year old girl running to the shop late in the evening when darkness is approaching? You wonder why their parents are comfortable sending a girl alone in a society full of wolves, child traffickers and insane perverts. If only such parents would think!
Some children in your neighbourhood could be bad influence. They are rude, foul mouthed and they know too much on sexual matters for their age . Your child should not hang out with badly taken care of kids and do not have any apologies about that.
We have seen enough disgusting videos of very young children trying to have sex. After being exposed to either phone pornography or live pornography from theople they live with,these children will want to experiment. So always be aware of your child’s whereabouts, who they are playing with and how they are playing.
Beware of bullies among your child’s playmates. Train your child to be brave in the face of bullies and not to cower or submit to any indecent activity to them. Children too can abuse each other.
7. Be the super mom
As you try your best to provide a safe space for your children, assure them that you are like a lioness ready to protect them at whatever cost.
The only time that a hen stretches her wings menacingly is when her chicks are in danger. Be like a hen. Your child should know that no matter your inadequencies, you are a super mommy, that you will take action if she/he reports something to you about somebody .
Some children have fallen victim because the predators threaten them that if they tell, they will harm them or their parents. Warn them about such threats, assuring them that mummy and daddy do not fear anyone who would harm their child.
8. Instill strong virtues in your child
Empower your child to be brave enough to say NO to anything they suspect is wrong.
Let them learn to be courageous enough to warn fiercely, to say things like, “Do not touch me again or I will report you to mummy!”
Teach your child to think independently. They should learn to walk away from what is wrong. They should not be coerced to do what is wrong just so that they please somebody.
Teach them to avoid being too nice to strangers. Not everyone showing their teeth has good intentions for them. A little arrogance might just save them. Let them ignore anyone who stops them to ask for directions or some kind of help. We are in a changing world where being good has really cost some people.
We all love gifts, yet, some people chose to use that as baits. Most sexual abusers use gifts to entice children. Teenagers too have fallen into the snares of those perverts through gifts.
Think of a five year old girl and her love for lollipops. Or the sixteen year old girl who has no phone and desperately needs one.
So , here is a suggestion. Buy your child gifts often so that they might not be tempted to accept from strangers. Sweets, biscuits, cakes and goodies will do just fine for your child. A toy now and then will be good too.
Let them know that there are people out there who would give them gifts but with a price to pay and so they should not accept the presents whatsoever.
For the teenagers, tell them why they cannot have what they are demanding but will soon have if they reach a certain age or if they achieve a certain goal. Offer them your phone often times for them to catch up with friends.
Teach them to be content with what is available and warn them that there is always a repercussion for every action.
10. If it happened
If the sexual abuse were to happen, do not blame your child or yourself.
When your child reports to you, respond calmy, tell them that they did well to report and assure the child you believe them.
Take action as soon as possible by reporting to the relevant authorities. Assure your child you are safe and that they will not be harmed by the abuser for reporting.
Seek medical help for both the child’s physical and mental health.
Do all you can for the child to provide a safe environment for the child to heal, and if you can, seek a professional counsellor for the child and you too.