By Lala Fogerty
Keep Kids Safe on Spring Break
Spring break is just around the corner, followed by summer! This time of year brings warmer weather, family get togethers, and parties. Unfortunately, with every opportunity for visits and reunions with friends old and new, come potentials for dangerous situations for our children. Not only are there the well-known dangers that can be prevented by wearing sunscreen and bicycle helmets, but also the hidden dangers that come from child predators. Nearly one-fourth of our children will be sexually abused before reaching his or her 18th birthday. What’s a parent to do to prevent this most insidious type of abuse? How about adhering to the guidelines below to lower your child’s risk of being a victim and increasing the chances for a happy, healthy, innocent childhood?
Top five prevention tactics for every family:
- Set boundaries. When a child doesn’t want to be tickled or hugged or otherwise touched, responsible adults need to step in and make sure the boundaries are understood and respected. This means not forcing our children to hug or kiss people they are not comfortable with – including Grandpa and Grandma in town for spring/summer break.
- Minimize Opportunity. One on one situations should be limited or better yet, avoided
- Talk openly with your children about appropriate and inappropriate touching. Let your kids know that they have your permission to say “NO!” and to talk about anything and everything with you.
- Recognize your child’s signs for being in distress or feeling uncomfortable, and step in when needed! Be okay with your own level of discomfort or inconvenience when setting healthy boundaries for your children.
- Trust your instincts and teach your children to trust theirs. If it feels wrong, or odd or off, it’s most likely because it is.
If we all take these simple steps, we could stop the ripple effect that sexual abuse inflicts for countless children. And if we could stop the source of ripples from even one child, imagine the impact on the world around us – beyond measure! Happy Spring!
Help Us Help Kids
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.