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Happy Healthy July 4th!

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Happy Healthy July 4th!

By Lala Fogerty

 

 

When we think about safety for July Fourth celebrations, most of us think of sunscreen and firework and water precautions. Those are important, of course, one of the biggest threats to our children is often overlooked and forgotten.  While the Fourth brings happy times and family celebrations, it can also bring opportunity for child predators.  While you’re contemplating healthy options for your day in the sun or your picnic or barbeque, why not take a moment and consider additional ways to keep your littles safe? Here’s to a happy, healthy Fourth of July:

 

*Set boundaries. When a child doesn’t want to be tickled or hugged or otherwise touched, parents need to step in and make sure the boundaries are understood and respected.

*Don’t force your children to show physical affection to anyone, for any reason. When we force physical affection of any sort on our children, we set a dangerous precedent. We teach our children that their instincts are not valid. Every person, no matter how young, should be able to choose when or even if to offer physical affection to others. Just because we, as parents, may have a comfort level with a friend or relative doesn’t mean our kids share that same level of comfort or trust. When we force our children to greet someone or say goodbye with a hug or a kiss or even a handshake, we blur the boundary lines. Give Grandma a kiss, give your cousin a hug, shouldn’t be among the requests we make of our children this Fourth of July.

* Learn the facts: 90% of child sexual abuse victims know and trust their abusers and 68% are abused by a family member. Not everyone is a perpetrator – true fact. Also true, is that anyone can be – even in our own families.

*Minimize Opportunity. One on one situations should be avoided. Every interaction with the children in our care should be observable and interrupt-able.

*Talk openly with your children about appropriate and inappropriate touching. Predators count on our silence and shame. The more we talk about what’s okay what’s not okay, the more light we shed on a topic that thrives in the shadows.

*Recognize your child’s signs for being in distress or feeling uncomfortable.  Step in when needed.

*Trust your instincts and teach your children to trust theirs.

 

This July Fourth – wear sunscreen to prevent burns, drink lots of water to stay properly hydrated, keep a proper distance from fireworks so you don’t lose a finger or a hand or anything, don’t eat mayonnaise in the sun because I’m pretty sure that can make you violently ill or something, and add child sexual abuse prevention to your July Fourth safety protocol, to have a truly, healthy, happy holiday.

 

Laura Fogarty

Laura Fogarty

Editor, Ask Lala

Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate, and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!

Laura has an ACE score of 7.

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