Author's advice marks Child Abuse Prevention Month
According to the Children's Defense Fund, every day in the U.S., 15 children will be killed by firearms and 8,493 children will be reported as being abused or neglected. Of these, 24% will have suffered from physical abuse and 14% from sexual abuse.
What can concerned parents, teachers, and other adults to do keep children safe?
In the book Protect Your child from Sexual Abuse: A Parent's Guide (Parenting Press, Seattle, 1984), author-counselor Janie Hart-Rossi suggests the following tips that parents can implement to help prevent sexual abuse of children:
Children who understand the difference between telling and tattling are also better able to deal with abusive situations. In her book Telling Isn't Tattling (Parenting Press, Seattle, 1995), author-day care director Kathryn M. Hammerseng shows young readers that:
- Establish a "touching code" with your immediate family, relatives, and other close friends. Together, as a family, decide on a code word or phrase that everyone in the family can use when they don't want to be touched. It could be as simple as "No" or, "Don't touch me! I don't like it!"
- Give esteem-building messages. Children with high self-esteem will not need to develop a "secret" relationship with an adult to feel good about themselves.
- Accept and express feelings in daily life. Develop a loving family environment where all feelings are acceptable. This encourages children to resist or report uncomfortable touch.
- Encourage decision-making. Even small children can, and should, have the opportunity to make choices. Give children opportunities to make decisions from among alternatives that you are comfortable with. For example, let them decide which shirt to wear, or which game to play.
For information on these and several other books that help build personal-safety skills in children, call 1-800-99BOOKS.
- Children tattle when they want to get someone in trouble, look good in someone else's eyes, get attention, or have an adult solve their problem.
- Children tell when they want protection for themselves or someone else, their own or someone else's property, or when they are scared or in danger.