Child abuse is a sensitive issue – one that isn’t talked about much in our society. Many parents will think that “oh it will never happen to my kid,” but never say never, right.
A pediatrician Dr. Tobi Adeyeye Amosun recently put together a list of all the details of child abuse: when and where it happens, who is the abuser and the most important – how to talk to your kids about it and how to prevent it.
She said that each month at least 1-2 kids come to her office, who have been sexually abused or molested. She has seen some familiar patterns of the children stories, which you need to read to prevent something like this happening from your child.
The site of the sexual abuse is likely to be home or another known place. An abuser is usually a close person like a male cousin, neighbor, babysitter, friend’s brother, father/stepfather, uncle or mom’s boyfriend.
In most cases the abuser is male, but there are some rare cases of female abusers as well. The second most popular location is, unfortunately, at the church youth group because there is little or no supervision.
Other places might include camps, schools and other places where adults might be alone with kids.
It is important to ask your school about their safety plans and to get to know as much about the grown-ups your child interacts with. If something does not feel right about someone, it probably isn’t. Always listen to your gut.
Always know the families to whom your kid goes to a sleepover. Never let them go to a household you are not familiar with.
The pediatrician said that many of her patients have told that first time they were touched inappropriately or they saw a pornography was at a sleepover. So rather be strict and restrictive than too chill and easygoing about it.
It is a common mistake most parents do. It is not good for the child to use words like booty, wee wee, cookie or treasure.
Use the real anatomical terms when speaking about body parts. Hands are hands; breasts are breasts and penises are penises. Using the cutesy names stigmatizes the body parts and is confusing when something needs to be reported.
There are two kinds of bits. The safe contact is in the area that is not covered by a bathing suit. For example, hands, shoulders, head. Safe touches should make the child feel safe and calm.
It can be a hug from your mother, a pet from your grandfather or holding hands with your aunt. A bad touch makes the kid usually feel anxious and scared.
It can sometimes be hard to get the child talking about the incident. It is important that the parents are a loving and secure vibe at home, which makes their kid feel that he/she can tell them anything and will not be punished for that.
In most cases, children are not being molested by a complete stranger. It is usually someone, who is known to the family. So be aware of the person (usually male), who ingratiates themselves to the child and family to lower their defenses.
First, they often earn the trust of everyone and then seek opportunities to be alone with the child. They get close to the family, so they can later accuse the child of making up the story.
You always need to monitor what your child can see and what not. There is a lot of adult content on the web, and there are wrong people, who take advantage of the innocent kids online.
That is the most important point of all. If something or someone seems off to you in any way (even if it is not reasonable) then do not leave your child with them. Your child’s safety is so much more important than being polite or kind.
Follow Dr. Tobi Adeyeye Amosun’s advice. Although we cannot protect our kids from everything, we can make some changes to prevent the worst from happening. Children will make mistakes and get hurt from time to time because that is what learning and growth all about.
We cannot just lock them up or carry them on a pillow their whole life. But we must remember, that children are young and naive. They are also vulnerable and cannot protect themselves, so it is important that parents and the whole society make everything in their power, to stop the child abuses.
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