Nowadays, its very easy to manipulate anyone, and a child is the easiest target. Considering the conditions of the society, its imperative that we teach our children, how to handle different situations, specially if it involves inappropriate touching. Sexual predators start with inappropriate touches, which leads to harassing or coaxing the child into doing heinous acts. Kidnapping, bullying and physical assault is some of the risks, young children face on a daily basis.
Why did I say that a child is an easy target?
Because children are simple by heart, vulnerable and can easily be lured anywhere. They can be talked into doing something that they won’t necessarily know is wrong. Most children trust easily and pedophiles make full use of this fact.
We as adults have to be attentive and alert for our children to be safe.
What can we do to prevent any mishap?
- ASSESS the Risk: We should keep a wary eye out for anyone who is either too friendly with the child. Another red flag is, when the child is uncomfortable around a person, take the child away (as mildly as you can). But do deal with the situation, once again, regardless of your relationship to the person who your child accuses or you have assessed that he/she is wrong.
- Carefully SELECT People Who Are Around Your Child: Clearly inform any adult, who interacts with your child, what you consider as acceptable behavior and non-acceptable behavior. Make sure they know that there will be consequences of their actions (if the child complains, or you feel something is off or you catch them with regard to questionable behavior/actions)
- TRUST your child: If the child complains about anyone, regardless of their relationship to you, make sure that you investigate into the matter. Children are usually not shy and express themselves eloquently. But if you shun them, they won’t be as communicative (if their confidence in you shatters). It is essential that the child bring it to your attention, without having the fear of being reprimanded.
- TEACH the Child: The children should be taught, how and what is appropriate and inappropriate touch. They should know who they can reach out to, if you aren’t around and they feel violated. It can be a sibling, a grandparent or the house help (if someone from the family is not available). Also teach them to say no to certain things. Like its NOT ok to take anything edible from a stranger. They should also know the difference between safe and unsafe stranger – policemen, teachers, security guards can be considered as safe strangers (but caution should be applied here too).