Children are supposed to be living in a safe society. Parents should have peace of mind when sending their children to school or even leaving the child back at home, maybe with a relative, a neighbour, a family friend or their caregiver. But unfortunately that is not the case. Times have changed and so has the safety of our children. With easy access to the digital media, porn and crimes, the crime against children is also on the rise. There seems to be a direct correlation between the two. One of the most concerning amongst them is sexual abuse of children or child molestation.
Children are too small and too innocent to even understand the concept of molestation and that they are being subjected to it. Although some children may be able to understand exactly what is happening, most of them suppress their need to speak up, as they tend to believe that it is their fault and they are ashamed of it. They may have been threatened to not say a word about it and that is why they continue to suffer the abuse in silence. The most surprising part is, some children even continue to be friendly and happy around their abusers, making it more difficult for the parent to identify if something is wrong.
As a helpful guide for parents, here are a few warning signs of child molestation you must look out for in your child.
All children love to play make-believe situations with their toys. Keep a watchful eye when your child it playing with his toys. If he is trying to make one toy touch another toy in inappropriate places or even makes the toys kiss each other forcibly, it may be a warning sign.
Children are by nature, very curious and are always on the look-out to discover new things. However, if they are touching other kids or other members in the family in their private parts, this is something to need to speak to your child about as soon as possible.
If your child has bleeding, bruising or infection in and around his or her private parts, this is a serious concern.Take your child immediately to the doctor to rule out any signs of sexual abuse.
If your child suddenly changes his demeanour with a particular adult, it’s something you should look into. Your child may suddenly be very rude to the person or show signs of fear. It is of importance to find out why your child is acting the way he is in front of a certain person.
Also read: 6 Warning Signs That Your Child Is A Bully
If your child is suddenly not being able to sleep properly or gets up in the middle of the night crying out aloud or scared, you need to be concerned. There is something bothering your baby and you need to know what it is to rule out any possible chances of sexual abuse.
If your otherwise healthy and happy child suddenly looks withdrawn and refuses to eat, it means that something is bothering him severely and that he is afraid of telling your something. If your child is losing weight rapidly as well, assure your child that he will not be in trouble for speaking the truth.
Like fear, a sudden fondness towards a new adult friend, should also not be overlooked. It’s okay for your child to be friendly with adults around him or her, but frequently mentioning an adult or wanting to go out with the adult or wanting to visit that adult time and again could be warning signs that something is not right.
Your child was doing well in class and enjoyed going to school. But if suddenly he or she refuses wanting to go to school or have problems concentrating and his grades keeps falling, it might be something you need to look into.
Also read: 5 Ways To Teach Gender Equality To Children
So now that we have spoken about the warning signs of child molestation or sexual abuse that you need to look out for, here are certain things that you can do to prevent your child from getting molested or sexually abused:
This is very important on the part of the parent to make your child aware about things like good touch, bad touch, his or her private parts. Help build a safe circle for the child whom they can trust and speak out to. This safe circle should include the child’s parents, grand parents and teachers as well.
Once your child turns 3 years old, teach him or her how to take a bath on their own, how to use the toilet and be able to clean their private parts on their own. No one should be allowed to touch your child’s private parts, apart from you, yourself.
Most of the times, children fear saying “No” to things. Teach them it’s okay to say no when they feel something that’s happening or they are being asked to do is not correct. If they find themselves in a situation that’s not too safe, they can leave by saying they need to go to the toilet. Also teach them it’s okay to scream and ask for help, if they feel trapped with nowhere to go.
At this age your child just needs to develop trust in his immediate family members. It’s a wise idea to maintain a safe distance between your child and his school’s bus driver or your next door neighbour as well. Also, tell him if someone offers him something to eat, he can accept the same, but tell them that he will only eat anything when his mommy or daddy gives him permission to do so.
While you are teaching your child helpful ways to protect himself or herself from sexual abuse, as parents, try and create a safe atmosphere for your child. Keep an eye on your child as much as possible and don’t easily trust your child’s care to anyone, even if it is an elder family member. Also, whether your child is in the care of another person, be it at day care or a maid or even a close family friend, ensure that you have CCTV cameras installed to prevent any possible abuse.
Children are innocent and their minds are like blooming flowers. Crimes like this can easily have an everlasting impact on your child’s mind, so it always helps to keep yourself informed about means and ways to prevent such abuse. Also prepare your child equally well to know what to do if ever any unfavourable situation is to come up in his or her way. Always be a person your child can trust and confide in and always believe what your child says.
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