By guest author
Life Training Christian Counseling
Licensed Christian Counselor
Specialist in Counseling for Teens
The holidays are often exciting times for adults and children alike. Joy and excitement arise as we prepare to get together with friends and family we only occasionally get to see. Unfortunately, these times also draw a need for attention from parents and guardians to protect their children from individuals who wish to harm them. According to RAINN, 93% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are known by the victim. Further, 59% of the known perpetrators are acquaintances and 34% are family members. Additionally, Darkness to Light reports that “more than 70% of children who are sexually abused are abused by a peer.” While these statistics are difficult to hear, they are important when discussing how to best protect our children this holiday season. Here are some things to enact to help prevent child sexual abuse in your family.
Empower Your Child To Say ‘No’
I often see adults trying to coerce their children into hugging family or friends they are not comfortable with hugging. Whether it’s because they don’t know them or don’t feel like it, the reason doesn’t really matter. It can cause confusion in their little minds when a child is forced to show affection towards an adult even when they’re uncomfortable, Boundaries can be blurred. While a hug seems innocent enough, it can lead to an inability to say no to future abuse.
It’s important to teach your child how to speak up when they are uncomfortable and feel confident in dictating what happens with their own body. This encourages them to say no when an adult is trying to get them to do something inappropriate rather than just “going along with it.” Teach them it is not disrespectful to adults to stand up for themselves when they are uncomfortable. Advocate for them when you see something happening and your child is afraid to say something.
Create Open Communication With Your Children
Teach your children there are no secrets that are kept from mom and dad. Encourage them that they will not be in trouble if they tell mom and dad a secret. You are there to protect them. Create a safety plan, such as using a “code word” for when your child doesn’t feel safe so that they can notify you without creating a scene. It’s easy to be emotional in a moment where your child may be scared. It is important for an adult to remain calm if the child is coming to you sharing their concerns. Having a visceral reaction to your child can scare them and prevent them from coming to talk to you in the future. Remaining calm will create a safe space for your children to come to when they are afraid or concerned.
Grooming is the process an abuser uses to grow closer to the child and child’s family in order to have access to the child. Know the signs and pay attention to those who are around your children. Watch out for adults who refuse to talk to adults and want to be alone with children. Pay attention to individuals who always have gifts for children, or even a specific child, even at unsolicited times. Listen for inappropriate conversations between children and adults or children with other children.
Be sure you are not leaving your children fully unattended; pop in for unexpected check-ins while they’re playing. Don’t ignore when an adult ignores boundaries you’ve set for your children. Don’t be afraid to intervene if you see something suspicious going on. Even if you’re an adult at these events who is not a parent, take time to inform yourself on how to see the signs of grooming or abuse. These children need to be protected.
Don’t let this information fill you with fear. Instead, use this as an encouragement to be prepared during the holidays – and every day – to look out for your children. For more information on signs of child sexual abuse and how to report sexual abuse, visit www.d2l.org/child-sexual-abuse/statistics/.
Life Training Specializes In Christian Counseling For Teens
Kayla Wright joined the counseling team at Life Training Christian Counseling in Louisville, Kentucky in May of this year. The passion of her counseling work is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of Teens and pre-teens.
Kayla is nationally licensed as a Christian Counselor by the National Christian Counselors Association. She possesses an advanced board certification in Child & Adolescent Therapy. Kayla gained extensive experience and credibility in providing counseling to teens and pre-teens during her tenure on the staff of Revive Christian Counseling in Owensboro and Madisonville, Kentucky. She is highly skilled in teenage substance abuse counseling and teenage depression counseling.
Kayla Wright, as well as each of our other counselors, offers convenient sessions at Life Training Christian Counseling in Louisville, Kentucky. She also offers online counseling via Zoom or FaceTime. Please click on this link to learn much more about how our Counseling for teens and pre-teens in Louisville, Kentucky can help the child you love find the highly-effective, Christ-centered help they need. Contact us today at 502-717-5433, or by email at email@example.com