Protecting our children is important to parents. Keeping our boys from harm: bad food, bad language, bad thoughts, but mostly from bad people is so important. The topic about to be mentioned is not one that moms often bring up and discuss, but we need to be aware that there are people who would hurt our children for their pleasure. These people are called child molesters or sexual predators. Just like a predatory animal such as a shark or lion, they seek their prey and plan an attack. But there are some things that we can do, as parents, to help our children stay safe.
1. Do not be naive. Sexual crimes against children happen. According to The National Center for Victims of Crime, 1 out of 5 girls will be molested and 1 out of 20 boys. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that the percentage for boys is as high as 1 out of 6 boys being sexually molested before they are 18. No matter the exact percentage, one is too many! We can see that children are being hurt. We prayerfully hope that it will not be our boys. So, how do we work to keep our children safe?
2. Know something about a person who might hurt your child. Do a quick search on the internet and you will find that children often know the person (as high as 96% of the time!) who will hurt them. They are sometimes related to that person. Know who your children are with and who will be visiting that person while your child in there. Often the molester is under 18 years old. Children need to be monitored, which leads me to #3.
3. Be with your sons. Don’t allow your children go into a restroom alone. Have them go with a trusted adult or brother. Better yet, have them go in with you. As the mom of all boys, I find a family bathroom at the mall or a store. The boys simply turn around when it is my turn. Don’t allow them to spend the day or the night with someone you don’t know or that you do not trust completely. It might seem like you are a stick in the mud to your sons (or the other family), but it is your job to protect you son.
4. Talk to your sons about the threat. We have read the Yell and Tell books. The one for boys is called Samuel Learns to Yell and Tell by Debi Pearl. You can check out the book for boys here. It is a great book for starting a conversation about who might want to hurt them but more importantly what they should do about it. They need to yell for the person to stop and they need to tell a trusted adult. Teach them not to be afraid. Trust them, if they tell you someone has touched, hurt, or made them feel uncomfortable. There is a book for girls too; this topic is for all children. (The book also has great tips and good information for parents at the back.)
5. Teach your sons to be safe. Several sources noted that boys 7-18 are the most likely to be sexually molested. This is an age where we feel they are “finally safe” as they are older. We let ten year boys go to the restroom alone at the ball game. We allow for sleepovers for our twelve year boys at their friends’ houses. Because we cannot keep them under our wings forever, we need to teach our boys to be safe. They should learn to BE AWARE: of their surroundings, of their feelings that something is off, of their own strength to protect themselves. We need to teach our boys to look for weapons in the objects around them. In the bathroom, this could be the shampoo to squirt in someone’s eyes. In the bedroom, this could be a book to throw at someone. In the game room, this could be a remote or glass with a drink. We have to teach our boys to look for a way to get free of someone who would hurt them. Practice helping them learn the words to say. “No. NO. NO!” and “Stop!” Help them be confident enough in themselves to know that they are worth it. No one should hurt them. Also, they need to tell. Help them trust themselves enough to tell.
6. Believe them and love them. Keep praying for you son. Keep talking with him and listening to him. Pray for wisdom in your decisions on what to do in specific situations and for how to be train him in this difficult area.
What tips would you share with me to keep my boys safer? What have you used that has worked with your children?
Love those boys & work to keep them safe!
P.S. I do not get anything from the purchase of the Yell & Tell books, but I do believe they are a good source for parents. I am sure there are other books out there as well. If you have found some other resources, please share! 🙂
This post was first seen on 4theloveofboys.com