Stranger danger and sexual assault are topics that both children and parents find upsetting. It’s a difficult topic to have, but it’s one that must be had. When you don’t talk to your child, he or she becomes more vulnerable to a sexual predator.

Discuss this with youngsters as soon as they are developmentally prepared. Because the typical age of sexual abuse is 8 or 9, it is important to discuss it before that age.

One approach to this subject is to focus on safety rather than misuse. Consider the vocabulary used in the hazards of crossing the street or avoiding touching a hot stove and structure this talk in the same way – with an emphasis on safety.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Apply the rule of the swimming suit. It is often referred to as the “underwear rule.” Teach your children that everything covered by swimming suit or underpants is a personal, private space. Make it clear to youngsters that it is not acceptable to touch them around their bathing suit region if they feel uncomfortable.
  • Use the appropriate terminology. When discussing private areas, use suitable terminology. Using the words ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ helps strengthen your point and avoid confusion.
  • Teach them to distinguish between good and terrible touch. Returning to the bathing suit rule, inform them that putting a hand beneath their shirt or underwear is inappropriate touching. Mention that flashing or peeping is not permitted. Show examples of proper touching, like embracing Grandma or Dad bathing the newborn. Use situations for improper touching as well, such as their friend’s brother asking to view what’s in their trousers. Remind them that they are not to touch anyone if no one can touch them there.
  • Remind them that keeping secrets is terrible. Many predators may try to use the argument that this is a family secret and that if they tell Mom or Dad, they would be in big trouble. Making a “no secret rule” in the family will encourage open communication. Instead of the term “secret,” consider “surprise” for a nice secret. This will assist children in distinguishing between bad secrets and positive surprises.
  • Plan your strategy with them. Make your children aware that they can tell you if someone makes them feel uncomfortable without getting in trouble when you establish open contact with them. Consider a third-party individual who the children can confide in and who can tell if they are frightened to tell Mom and Dad. This third-party individual may be a teacher, a neighbor, or a friend’s parent.
  • Give them a sense of security. After having this speech, some youngsters may not want to hug or kiss their aunt goodbye. Support them instead of forcing them. Make them aware that they must still show respect, and that handshakes, high fives, or waves can be used instead of embraces or kisses.

Article by

Rose .A. Milani,

Parent Coach and Registered Mental Health Counsellor

Based in Melbourne, Australia


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