Protecting Your Children From Sexual Abuse During The Holiday Season

Group Of Elementary Age Schoolchildren Running Outside

 

The HOLIDAY SEASON is upon us! The kids are out of school and it’s a time of joy, laughter, reconciliation and loads of delicious foods!

Although this time of the year brings great excitement, it is also hunting season for child predators.  There are a number of reasons for this:

Children Are Out of School: Unfortunately, not every parent can take time off a work at the same time their children are on Holiday Break.  Because of this many leave there children in the care of close friends, neighbors, family members and baby sitters (all of which can be a child predator).

Easy Manipulation: Young and impressionable children can be easily manipulated in allowing an adult to offend them (especially when they have a close relationship with the perpetrator).  The predator can promise them “extra” gifts for Christmas or tell them that “Santa” will be disappointed in them if they do go along with the predator’s plans.

Keeping Quiet: If the perpetrator is a close family member (parent, sibling, grandparent etc.), the child maybe less likely to come forward about offense because of fear of breaking up the family during the Holidays.  The offender can easily make the child feel as though it would be their fault if they came forward about the abuse.  They can say something such as, “You don’t want to be the reason why your family won’t be together for Christmas?”

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD ?

NO SECRETS: Teach your children (nieces, nephews grandchildren etc.) the difference between SAFE & UNSAFE secrets.  Encourage them to come to you in the event they have been told to keep a bad or unsafe secret; as predators often tell their victims to keep the abuse a secret.

BOUNDARIES & TOUCHING: Teach your children the difference in GOOD & BAD touching.  Inform them that they have a right to set boundaries and that no one should invade their personal space…..NO ONE!

DON’T FORCE HUGS OR KISSES: I get it, your child is adorable and their grandparents and other family members love for them to give “Huggies & Kissies”.  However, you must be very careful with this.  Children are not always up for giving away their hugs and kisses.  It hurts your feelings, I know, but it is important to RESPECT their space. Allow them to decide whether they want to give away that precious hug or kiss.  It teaches them that people should respect their bodies and in the long run, it teaches your children that they should respect other people’s bodies.

BE WATCHFUL: The Holidays bring around lots of family members, friends and even strangers.  Watch how these individuals interact with your child and address concerns if needed.  Also, don’t leave your child alone with anyone in a room at anyone’s house.  This time of the year often brings on sleepovers with cousins. This can be a great bonding experience but keep in mind to discuss with your children ways to remain safe during that time.  Also, follow up with them after the stay to hear from them about what took place.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

90% of child victims are abused by someone they know

>> 60% are acquaintances like neighbors

>> 30% are IMMEDIATE or EXTENDED FAMILY

ONLY 10% are STRANGERS

Knowing the Physical & Behavioral Signs of Sexual Abuse is very IMPORTANT (Click Here To Learn More)

RESOURCE

GOOD SECRETS, BAD SECRETS (Children’s Book)

“Good Secrets, Bad Secrets shows children the difference between good secrets and bad secrets.” ~ Deborah J. Monroe (Author)

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