Protecting Your Child from Sexual Abuse
For Parents of Preschool and Elementary Age Children

Mary M Buxton LCSW, Inc.
AASECT Certified Sex Therapist

The threat of sexual abuse is one of the major fears of most parents.  To help protect our children when we can't be with them, we need to teach them how to protect themselves in ways appropriate to their age level.  Talking about sexual abuse with your child is hard to do.  How do you do it without scaring them to death?  What's important to say?  How can you get your child to listen, to practice and to remain interested?

Using books to help get you started and engage your child in learning about sexual abuse is one good approach.  Start with Protect Your Child from Sexual Abuse (Parenting Press), a great primer for the parent. It focuses on the basic issues in prevention:

  1. Helping your child understand that while most people are nice, there are some people who do bad things;
     
  2. Teaching your child to trust his or her feelings about a situation; and
     
  3. Teaching basic assertion and self esteem skills: saying no, repeating it and getting help.

Four other books are helpful in encouraging your child to trust his or her uncomfortable feelings about unwanted touch and uneasy situations. They are:

  • My Body
     
  • Loving Touches
     
  • Telling or Tattling?, and
     
  • Bully on the Bus

All the books are from Parenting Press.  The first two books define loving and uncomfortable touch and how to say no forcefully, and they help children successfully resist and get help.  In Telling or Tattling? thirteen vignettes invite your child to decide whether the child in the story was telling or tattling.  Bully on the Bus is a problem solving book in which your child directs the story by choosing one of several endings.   These books lend themselves to fantasy rehearsal, reading aloud, puppetry, role play, and discussions of real life situations with your child.

This "don't be a victim" training should go hand in hand with general sex education.   A wonderful book to start with the preschool and elementary age child is, Where do Babies Come From? by Susan Meredith (Osborne Press - $3).  Preview the book to develop your own level of comfort and choose which pages you are ready to read aloud.  Remember that your child will hear distorted information about sex from the older kids on the playground.  You can ensure they will hear the truth and the values you want them to hear if you tell them first.

There's no time like right now to get started.  Order these books from Parenting Press 800-992-6657 or your local bookseller.

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Mary M Buxton LCSW, Inc. - Sex & Couple Therapy - Licensed Clinical Social Worker  #LCS 7780
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