We live in an unfortunate world where children are abused in many forms and ways. The most common form of abuse is sexual, followed by mental and then psychological. When a child faces any kind of abuse he/she has a lifelong impact on the personality. These children grow up to be people with personality disorders which can result in either being too quiet or being too aggressive.
As parents, there are a few precautionary steps that you can take in order to reduce the risks and exposure to these kinds of abuse. Raising children is a tough job, protecting them from abuse is tougher. Everything that happens in the early years of a child’s life will help shape the personality and attitude towards life. Always remember, that if a child does fall into the trap of sexual abuse, only the perpetrator is to be blamed – not you, not your child.
What Can Parents Do?
The first thing that parents can do is being actively involved in the life of your child. The more you are involved in your child’s life, the better for you to understand the sings if something is wrong. When a child is facing any kind of abuse, there will be obvious personality changes which will be noticeable. The warning signs can make things easier for you to take the appropriate actions.
Show interest in the everyday life of your children: make sure that you make it a habit to ask everything about your child’s day. Ask them questions about who they interacted with and about what. Who did they have lunch with and what did they eat? Gauge out as much detail as possible of the actions and feelings of your children.
Take time to get to know the people your children interact with: as a parent, you must know who your child is spending time with. Get to know their friends and parents of the friends. When you speak about them, talk openly so that your children feel free to speak about them to you as well.
Make your selection of caregiver with vigilance: whenever you have to leave your child with a caregiver, be it at a daycare or someone looking after them when you are away, make sure that you know them well. Go through a screening process and ensure that these caregivers will not harm your children.
Encourage your children to share their experiences: children often get scared when they face something they do not like. Make sure that you encourage your children to share any experiences, good or bad with you openly. When your child has experienced any sort of mental abuse or a sexual assault, he/she should be able to talk to you about it openly. Do not create any barriers or walls otherwise, your child may just hide behind it.
Allow your children to initiate a topic: instead of asking questions like “did you have fun today?” ask them “do you have anything on your mind you want to talk about?” This will encourage your children to initiate new topics and they will speak about something they may have seen or experienced during the day.
Be emotionally available: make it a routine to spend alone time with each of your children where they get your undivided attention. Your availability will give them a sense of trust. They will get the message that you will always be there for them.
Emotional stress is as harmful to a child’s well-being as a sexual assault. Parents can protect their children from the beginning by creating an open communication platform where the children do not hide anything. They should have the confidence that no matter what happens, you are always there to help them.