How To Talk To Your Young Child About Sexual Abuse
(The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Be Seen and Heard Journey. Please note that this episode, like all BSH Journey episodes, features Victor speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited.)
This is Victor Pacini. I want to welcome you to another episode of the Be Seen and Heard Journey. This is not my typical backdrop, but I am currently in San Jose, California, presenting to thousands of children and talking to them on how to keep their bodies safe. And one of the questions I get from parents, and this is what the whole idea of this video is, how do you have an appropriate conversation with your child? I mean, think about it. Kids obviously are different ages. You have kindergartners all the way up to high school students. So how do you have a conversation with this about this with a kindergartener, for example?
Well, I try to keep it very simple. A lot of times I do parent presentations and I sometimes I get parents that are just very nervous about having the conversation. In fact, they’ll even get to a point where they say, “Victor, I really enjoy your presentation but I’m going to potentially opt my child out because it is my fear about having this talk with my kids.”
I can give you a couple of very simple strategies and how you can reinforce the message. Listen, this is not an easy topic to talk about. I know that it’s not easy at all and it’s very uncomfortable. It’s still considered to be taboo in a lot of our culture. And the bottom line is this. You don’t have to talk about sexual abuse to have a talk about sexual abuse. It’s as simple as talking to a kindergarten or first and second grader and using terms like, safe touch. We know that safe touches are when mommy and daddy give you a hug. We know that safe touches is when your friend gives you a high five or a fist bump or a tap on the shoulder. Those are safe touches and they make us feel good. They make us feel happy.
They make us feel, like when our teacher gives us a high five and says, “Great job!” That makes us feel like we have achieved something. That’s awesome. And then if you flip it over and you say, what’s an example of an unsafe touch? Well, being pushed is unsafe, being kicked and tripped. These are all unsafe touches and unsafe touches make us feel unsafe and they make us feel bad. I want to talk to you about an unsafe touch as it pertains to our private body parts. And this is how I would recommend you talking to your son or daughter when you’re giving them a bath. Let’s say they’re in pre-K or kindergarten and you’re giving them a bath tub and you reinforce and say, mommy and daddy are the only ones that can give you a bath to keep you clean.
There’s that rule that contains the word, clean. Or if you spend the night at grandma and grandpa’s house and they give you a bath to keep you clean, or, auntie’s house or uncle’s house. Whomever you set that up to be appropriate with your family. Again, the rule is no one touches your private body parts unless it is to keep you clean and healthy. We want to make sure we reinforce that rule over and over and over again. And it’s truly as simple as that. And plus, I tell parents to download a free copy of my book….I’ll put a link on this page if you’d like to download a free copy of the book. It’s a simple story about a little boy….a little boy who was sexually abused. And I wouldn’t use those words with a kindergartner, but I’d use words like that was inappropriately touched and he kept an unsafe secret for many years.
And then that’s when you can start talking about what a safe secret is and what an unsafe secret is. So I hope this helps you. These are just simple ways that you can reinforce what a safe touche is and what an unsafe touche is, and ultimately, how you can reinforce the topic of sexual abuse without using the word sexual abuse. It doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be very simple. Again, when kids come to see my presentations, they come with no expectations. None. It’s us adults that have the fear and the expectations when we go see something like this. So, again, I want thank you for watching this video. Please feel free to share it and send it along and let’s keep the message going because it’s all about protecting our kids. Have a great day.