Child Sexual Abuse: What You Should Do to Protect Your Child (Part 2)

Ololade Hector-Fowobaje

Previously, we shared 5 things every parent should do in this regard (read here). Find more useful tips…

Shun carelessness. Allowing your male houseboy or male relative to bathe your daughters is carelessness. Allowing your daughters to go around the house naked or half-naked is wrong. Even when bathing, the bathroom door should be locked. This rule applies particularly to pre-teens and older children.

When the driver is dropping your kids off at school, make sure your maid or any responsible female goes with them to and fro. Never leave your child(ren) alone with the driver at anytime and no matter how briefly you step out of the car.

In addition, whenever they are dressing up, their bedroom door should be locked. Emphasize the importance of body privacy to your children from a very early age. Tell them also that nobody should ever take nude pictures of their body.

It is also in the best interest of the budding and maturing girl child not to be seen naked by even her father and brothers. “Men are moved by what they see,” they say. It’s better to be safe than sorry. In fact, in order to avoid confusion, even fathers should not bathe their daughters. Particularly, they should not wash their daughter’s private parts so that it would be clear to the child that those parts are out of bounds to even daddy.

Don’t expose your children to sexual situations. Ensure the door is locked when you are ‘busy’ and avoid leaving pornographic materials where children can find them if you have them. Pornography is a poor sex educator, it’s addictive and against God’s laws; it’s not good for anyone, young or old.

READ ALSO: Protect Your Child From Paedophiles: How to Spot One & What to Do

Presents are no perfect substitute for presence. Spend quality time and develop close positive communication with your kids. Have an approachable demeanour. Dad, join mum in this! You may be away from home most of the time, but when you are home, let them know you are there; make up for the lost time.

Structure weekly meetings with them, find out what’s going on in their lives and teach them something new. Joel Osteen said even if he’s in a meeting he would always answer a call from his children. It is important to let them know that they are priority in our schedules and life in general.

Also, listen in on their conversations and counter all misinformation with the right ones as we are in the information age and they’re constantly being bombarded with negative information. Teach them also that keeping a secret from you is dangerous. Teach them that allowing a bad thing to go unchecked is not right, when they know something is not right they should speak up. This is to encourage them to speak up if they ever get sexually abused.

Set boundaries. Don’t let your children just wander around all over the neighborhood. Don’t allow your kids to go over for sleepovers if you will not be there with them. Many adults report that they were abused as kids when they went on holidays alone at their friend or relative’s homes. Also, very important, boys should not sleep in the same room as the girls and should never share the same bed.

READ ALSO: Is Your Child Being Molested? See Warning Signs

Affirm them regularly and help them develop a good self-esteem. Children with low self esteem sometimes look for love in the wrong places and accept ‘perverted’ love from pedophiles. Children raised on constant criticism and blame, neglected children, physically and emotionally abused children are prone to sexual abuse. ‘I love you’ should not be scarce in your home.

Use every moment to engage them in valuable teachings without nagging! When watching TV and movies for instance, always discuss with them about the content of what they are watching. Uphold positive scenes. When there are scenes that may impact them negatively, don’t assume they will know better. Tell them such things are wrong and have consequences. Tell them why they are wrong and give them real life examples of probable consequences.

Watch what your children watch! Most of the teen programmes on cable channels particularly are about ‘having a crush,’ ‘my first kiss,’ going out on a date and boyfriend related issues. If these are the messages Hollywood is churning out to our children, where else will their attention be?

Be watchful. When a child’s behaviour changes and he/she gets suspiciously moody, probe and investigate. Where your child is concerned, trust no one blindly and watch out for warning signs.

Teach them to keep a diary and write down their emotions daily. For younger children, put up a monthly chart of emotions on the wall in their bedroom and teach them to draw smileys to represent their moods. Monitor this diary and chart and probe when there’s a sad smiley.

Let them have access to a phone whenever you are away from them. Teach them to have a list of ‘emergency numbers’ to call whenever they are in distress and you are not around.

Teach them online safety skills and monitor their Internet use. Sexual predators are all over the world and the Internet is one of their effective ways of grooming girls and young children in generally. You can also make it a rule that all Internet use must be in the living/family room where nothing can be hidden.

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