To teach your child about child abuse, firstly, talk to them about their privates.
Teach your child the proper names for parts of their body. For boys penis and testicles. For girls, vagina and vulva. So if they have to talk about it, they won’t be misunderstood.
Let them know that no one should ask to see, or touch their privates, and if someone does- make sure your child knows to tell you. Even if they promised to keep it a secret.
Use simple language and don’t frighten them, just explain it matter-of-factly.

Look at internet sites like the NSPCC which uses the letters from PANTS to explain the rules:
P: Privates are private.
A: Always remember your body belongs to you.
N: No means no.
T: Talk about secrets that upset you.
And S: Speak up, someone can help.

Secondly, explain the rules so your child knows how to stay safe.

  • Install privacy settings on their computers, mobiles and tablets and explain WHY -because you don’t want them to see rude pictures or videos or talk to strangers.
  • Explain that although most people are good and kind, that some people aren’t!
  • And it’s important they never share their details online, like their name and address, age or phone number.
  • The NSPCC has a Net Aware site where you can check the safety of social network sites, apps and games your child uses. Remember you’re the parent. You can decide to block something even if your child doesn’t agree.
  • Also, tell then that to keep them safe you need to know where they are and who they’re with all the time.
  • Be clear about telling them never to get into a car or go anywhere or accept gifts from strangers.
  • Tell them it’s ok to say ‘no’ to touches that make them feel uncomfortable.
  • Make sure they know to play in areas where you can see them, and to tell you if someone makes them feel unsafe.

Finally, ask your child lots of questions about situations that could be unsafe.

  • What would you do if you saw a rude image on your computer?
  • What would you do if a friend asked you to look at a sexy website they’d found?
  • What would you do if a man showed you his penis?
  • Who’s more likely to abuse a child – someone, they know or someone they don’t know?
  • Why is it hard for children who are abused to tell someone?

It would be good to come up with 50 questions if you can. Then discuss your child’s answers, correct them if you need to, and then ask the question again.

So the 3 tips to help you teach your child about child abuse are:

  1. Talk to them about their privates. 
  2. Explain the rules so your child knows how to stay safe.
  3. Ask your child lots of questions about tricky situations.

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If you need more than three tips on this – or you’d like to discover the secrets you need to have happy well-behaved, children – please contact me by clicking here. You can arrange a free 20-minute (no obligation) chat to find out if working with me personally (by phone, Skype or face-to-face) would help you and your family. Contact Elizabeth

child behavioural expert
The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

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