Preventing sexual abuse

Educational Psychologist Michele Borba, EdD, shares advice for parents on the best steps to take with your children in order to help prevent sexual abuse
What To Teach Your Kids To Help Prevent Sexual Abuse
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Preventing sexual abuse

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One of the biggest nightmares we face, as parents, is worrying about our kids and that thing called "sexual abuse." We try not to talk about that with our kids because we don't want to hurt them or to scare them. The reality is we need to empower our children because that's the best way to reduce their chances of those nightmares. The first thing is, stop talking stranger danger to your child. It doesn't help. Too many of those strangers who turned out to be child abusers or child abductors are actually friendly looking guys from teachers to priests to the neighbor next door. Instead, teach your children about certain situations that are inappropriate. First thing is, secrets. There are no bad secrets. Anybody who ever says to you, "We've got to keep this a secret," you immediately come home and tell. Number two, kids don't need help from adults. They don't need to find kitties. They don't need to find lost children. Teach that one to your children. Adults don't give out unearned rewards to your children. Adults that your child doesn't know well, from the candy to the electronic device. Finally, you've got to teach your child to say "no," and give them permission. Any time someone does something they don't like, you can yell, "no." "I will tell" is another great line to teach your child and you tell them to come home and tell me. I will back you up and give you permission to say, "No." If you have any instinct that there is something wrong, pick up the phone and get help. Too many times I hear the two worst words from parents, "if only." Don't let this be your child.

Educational Psychologist Michele Borba, EdD, shares advice for parents on the best steps to take with your children in order to help prevent sexual abuse

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Michele Borba, EdD

Educational Psychologist

Michele Borba, EdD is a Today Show contributor and recipient of the National Educator Award. She is recognized for her practical, solution-based parenting strategies and is an expert of bullying. Michele is the author of 22 books including Building Moral Intelligence and No More Misbehavin’. She appears as an expert on shows such as Dr. Phil, The View, and CNN and is an advisory board member for Parentsmagazine. 

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