Talk to Your Children about Healthy, Age-Appropriate Relationships
Help them practice disengaging from individuals who make them uncomfortable. Teach younger children to say, “No, stop” to someone who violates their boundaries. As your child gets older, the pressures to engage in behavior that makes them uncomfortable only increases. Therefore, you should discuss how to remove themselves from those situations be it at school, work, activities, or online.
Teach children that if they have a concern about the behavior of another person, they can go tell an adult they trust.
Explain the difference between secrets and surprises. Secrets can lead to trouble, and we don’t keep secrets from one another.
Talk to your children about healthy relationships, including the topics of sex and pornography. Their first exposure to these topics should be from their primary caregivers, not on the playground. We recommend having these conversations with your child by the time they are the age of eight years old. Reassure them that they won’t get in trouble for asking questions.
Be a safe place for your child to share information or ask questions about things that make them feel uncomfortable.
Ask open-ended questions about your child’s activities. Don’t just ask if they behaved or had a good time at a party, school, or an activity. Find out who they interacted with and if they felt safe while they were there.
Listen to your child if they say they are uncomfortable or don’t want to be around a certain person. Find out why by asking open-ended questions.
Pay attention to changes in behavior or attitude. This may be the only way they express that something is wrong. Learn more about the signs and symptoms of abuse on our What is Child Abuse page.
Learn From Us
Members of our Multi-Disciplinary Team met to discuss their experiences in parenting kids at each age. They share their insights on what conversations are important to have and how they have had them with their own children. Take a seat at the table and learn from these experts then join the conversation on social media using #EmpoweredToProtect.