Part of being a parent or guardian is protecting our children from harm. Luckily, the vast majority of the world is filled with people who want the same things you want for the child but you must remember that there are those who might also wish your loved ones ill. In order to protect your children from sexual predators, here are some things to keep in mind.
1Teach your children safety basics first. This means covering not only the way to safely cross the street and watch for oncoming traffic but also role-playing situations that mimic the types of things would-be predators might do or say to get a child's attention. Try to tailor this activity to the age and maturity level of your child. You can even use dolls or other toys to make this less intimidating for your child.
2Select an age-appropriate book and teach your child the parts of the body. Then explain to your child that no one has the right to touch them in any way that makes them uncomfortable. Teach them that they are to be treated with respect and kindness, no matter whether the person in question is a teacher, religious figure, parental figure or babysitter. Reinforce that their private parts are exactly that––private.
3Explain to your child that you are there for them, always. Often a would-be attacker will tell a child that somehow they are responsible for their deviant behavior, or threaten them or the safety of the child's family, if the child seeks to tell what the predator has done or attempted to do. Let your child know that this is a typical tactic and that they should never ever hide anything that can bring them harm. Commit to believing your child and putting their well-being above any one else. Your child needs to trust you and know without a doubt that you are their protector.
4If your child is old enough, teach them basic self defense of enroll them in martial arts or a self defense class. Simply knowing how to defend one's self instills confidence. Nurture your child's sense of can-do in this area and explain when it is important and suitable to defend one's self.
5Consider giving your child a cell phone that is pre-programmed with any necessary phone numbers. Of course, also make sure they know their address and how and when to use 911.
6If your child walks home from school, make sure they walk in groups and teach them which paths are safe. If possible, vary the way they go home periodically to avoid creating a set pattern for a deviant to follow.
7If you live in an apartment building, keep an eye on corridors and elevators. If you are a single parent, be especially mindful of making a plan for safety if your child returns home from school before you get home from work. Remember that predators look for places to harm children and openings to get to them.
8Reassure your child and point out the good in the world. Secure your child's world to the best of your ability but remind them that most people want to live in a safe world too. Instill safety rules and trust in your dedication to helping them have a happy childhood.