Child Abuse Article - When and How to Teach Your Child about Child Abuse

Child Abuse Article on Prevention - Parent Question and Answer

Parenting Question:

How do you tell your toddler to beware of sexual abuse or other abuses? When to start and what age etc.

Signed,
Juliette

Laura's answer:

Your question about child abuse prevention is an important one. I'd like to commend for your concern about your child's safety. Since it has been estimated that 4% of our population are sociopaths, it is possible that your child will encounter one at some point during childhood. Many sociopaths (in particular, pedophiles) work themselves into positions of authority where they can have power over children.

This is why it's essential to teach children that not all adults have their best interests at heart and why it's crucial to raise children to trust their instincts and develop their powers of discernment. (I explain how to do this in my parenting book Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting and illustrate why it is dangerous to raise children to be nice and what parents must do instead.)

Child Abuse Article - Child Abuse Prevention Tips

child abuse article

My tips for teaching a toddler about child abuse prevention are simple. Keep in mind that while you want to avoid making your child frightened of the world (which could eventually develop into a generalized anxiety disorder), you want to raise your child to become progressively aware of the different kinds of people in the world.

Start by teaching your child to trust her instincts. For instance, when my youngest son was two, we entered Walmart and were greeted by an employee who was giving out candy to all the kids. I was carrying my son on my hip and when the woman approached us and extended a piece of candy, my son's instinct was to arch away from her and shake his head. Rather than taking her cue from my son's body language, the woman moved closer and waved the candy in front of his face. My son's reaction was to glare at her.

Child abuse article fact: Over 700,000 children go missing every year.

Before I tell you how I responded, let's talk about how most parents would react. Due to their niceness training and tendency to respect the feelings of adults before those of their own children, many parents would have admonished their child for not being nice and instructed them to take the candy. Of course, this flies in the face of the common warning—Don't take candy from strangers.

Or the parent might have said something like, "Mommy's with you. It's okay for you to take the candy."

As a mother who understands how important it is to raise my son to trust his instincts, I told the woman firmly, "Thank you, but you as you can see, my son does not want the candy." By doing this, I was accomplishing three things: acknowledging my son's instincts, supporting him by being kind but firm to the adult and pointing out that despite his body language, she was still trying to bait him with the candy, which is pretty insensitive behavior by an adult. As we walked past the employee into the store, he gave me a big squeeze as if to acknowledge my willingness to stand up for him.

Child abuse article fact: 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys are sexually exploited before they reach adulthood.

Perhaps the most important child abuse prevention tip for the mother of a toddler is to ensure that the toddler is only in the care of adults who care deeply about children. Your toddler has not yet developed the perceptual skills to know whom to trust and whom not to trust. This is a process and limited exposure to trusted caretakers who may not be quite as responsive as his mom will help him start to make initial distinctions.

For more about raising children to trust their instincts and develop keen self preservation and discernment skills that will keep them safe from harm, read my parenting book Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting.

About the author: Laura Ramirez is an award-winning author who has a degree in psychology and teaches a parenting class via teleseminar so parents can refine their parenting skills from the comfort of their home.

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