by Kenneth Wooden
- Avoid scare tactics when discussing personal safety. Reassure your child that most people are kind and safe. Those who are not are the exception.
- Instill within your child a sense of self-worth at every opportunity.
- Teach your child basic sex education, i.e. the areas of the body covered by a bathing suit are private.
- Establish that sexual abuse is a crime. This gives children the confidence to assert themselves with those who try to abuse them.
- Allow children to express affection on their own terms. Do not instruct them to "Give Uncle Jimmy a kiss" or "Give Aunt Susan a hug."
- Stress that there should be no secrets from you, especially those involving an adult.
- Develop strong communication skills with your children. Explain the importance of reporting abuse to you or another trusted adult.
- Make a commitment to spend quality time with your child. Lonely and attention-starved youngsters are most vulnerable to abuse.
- Make it a priority to get to know your child's friends and their families.
- Encourage involvement in extracurricular activities. Youngsters with many interests are less likely to become involved with drugs or other negative influences.
- Volunteer to chaperone activities like Boy Scouts and sporting events, especially those involving overnight trips.
- Do not rely on "The Buddy System." While it may make children (and parents) feel safer, its effectiveness is questionable. In many instances, sisters, brothers and playmates have been victims of terrible crimes when together.
- Instruct children never to go with or get in a car with anyone, unless you have given him or her direct permission.
- Stress the importance of reporting rumors or threats of violence, including bomb threats and weapon possession by schoolmates. Reinforce that reporting can be done anonymously, but that school officials must be told for the safety of everyone.
- Above all, encourage children to recognize, trust and follow their instincts -- and listen to your own instincts. If a situation or person makes you or your child uneasy, believe in your feelings and act on them.
Excerpted from the Child Lures Parent Guide.
Kenneth Wooden is a published author with a background in education and investigative journalism. During interviews with sexual offenders and abductors, Ken uncovered the diverse and imaginative strategies used by sexual predators to lure victims. These "lures," coupled with Ken's proven prevention techniques, are the foundation of his Child Lures prevention materials, including the handbook, Child Lures Parent Guide and the nationally broadcast Child Lures News Series.
Appearing before congressional committees, in numerous news magazines, and on the TV circuit, Ken continues to strive to help us keep our children safe in today's world. You can read more about Ken's work on his website.
Copyright © Kenneth Wooden. Permission to publish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.