If your a parent I have a homework assignment for you.
After you finish dinner and your children’s homework is done it is time for you to start your homework assignment. Turn off the television your favorite show is going to have to wait (record it), turn off the video games, and sit your kids down at a table.
What will you need for this homework assignment
2) Something to write with
Now the homework assignment begins
Ask your kids to write down all the people they feel they can trust. Give suggestions to your children.
(mom, dad, sibling, relative, teacher, coach, pastor, babysitter, family friend, etc.)
Actually have them write out the names of these people. Explain to your children the names you put down are people you feel you are safe with.
Okay once we have established a list with the kids the conversation begins.
“Kids in school you do tornado drills, fire drills, bus drills, and maybe earth quake drills. You will learn to say NO to Drugs in 6th grade, you also learn not to talk to strangers because they can be dangerous just like mommy and daddy tell you. Your teachers might talk to you about internet safety and bully intervention.”
“Well tonight we are going to talk about something you don’t learn in school. While you should not talk to strangers sometimes people we know that are not strangers can hurt us. This conversation is not to scare you but to keep you safe.”
Ask your kids to define what a safe touch is?
(you might get some interesting responses)
Write down a list with your kids that you feel are safe touches.
Now ask your kids what are unsafe touches?
(you might get surprised by what they might say)
Give your kids a visual: The place your bathing suit covers are private places that nobody should look at or touch. Go into detail about their private places and explain how somebody touching them there is not a safe touch and if someone tries to touch them that way try to get away and tell another adult (on their list of safe people) right away. The same way we would tell you to kick and scream if a stranger tried grabbing you, do the same if someone tries touching you.
Ask your kids to define what a secret is?
After they answer give them an example of a safe secret “Grandma’s Surprise 60th birthday, your brothers birthday gift, etc.”
Ask your kids to define what is an unsafe secret?
(This is where you might get some interesting answers)
Explain to your children how someone who might try to touch you inappropriately will try to make you keep a secret about it. This is an unsafe secret. Explain that the person might try to use threats to keep you silent by saying they will hurt you if you tell anyone, that nobody will believe you. This is your chance to DRILL into your kids heads that somebody will believe them and that they have to tell if anyone ever tries anything that makes them feel uncomfortable and unsafe. Go back to that list of people they created of people who are safe that they could talk to.
Give your kids examples of other ways they would tell you something. If they fell and scrapped their knee, if their brother or sister was not sharing, or pushed them, or took their toy etc. Parents you know exactly what I am talking about you have all been there. Kids are always telling you something. However once a predator gets your kids and takes their voice it might be months, years, even decades before they tell you anything all because nobody ever had this conversation.
Tell your children they can always come to you with anything but that if they do not feel comfortable telling you something who else can they tell. Don’t take offense to this. Kids often want to protect their parents or a predator might tell kids they will hurt mommy or daddy. So a child might be afraid to tell mommy thinking she might get hurt and maybe the teacher or babysitter is the next person they feel safest sharing something with.
Create a list with your kids on 8 ways they could get away and tell today. I have 8 ways I could share with you but I want you to talk to your kids first.
When you are all done find a place in your children’s room they can keep their list of safe people they trust.
Instill in your kids heads about not keeping secrets of any type of abuse including someone that could be bullying them at school.
To end the assignment challenge your kids with this question
What if one of your friends came up to you tomorrow and told you someone was touching them in their private places but they have to keep it a secret. What would you do?
Now that you have just educated them on not keeping secrets like this they will give you the correct response and tell an adult immediately.
By having this conversation with your children you are not only giving your children an extra layer of protection you could be giving them a voice for their friends as well.
All it takes is one incident for a child to lose their trust and have their voice silenced. Don’t let your child or children be next.
Now go get started on your homework assignment and come back and tell me how it goes.
I have a lot more to say but going to start off light on talking about this with kids. Don’t want to overwhelm parents but also want to protect your kids. Don’t deny them the knowledge they deserve.
Remember this you cannot always be there to watch your children 24/7.
Empower them and their voice!
Erin in 6th grade class coloring.