COLORADO SPRINGS — It’s a conversation that can be uncomfortable but necessary to keep kids safe, talking about boundaries and what’s appropriate and not appropriate touching.
Kidpower Colorado said guardians need to have those tough conversations as early as the child can understand and have them often. Executive Director Jan Isaacs Henry said it’s important for parents to be straightforward, factual, and calm when discussing safe, appropriate touch.
“Anything that bothers them, anything that makes them feel unsafe, no matter if it is someone in a position of authority or that they know and love, they get to decide what’s okay and what’s not okay, and they are able to get help if that boundary is violated,” Executive Director of Kidpower Colorado Jan Isaacs Henry said.
Henry said guardians should ask their kids if there is anything that they’ve been wondering or worrying about that they haven’t told them yet.
“Wait patiently for the answer, it could be that they tell you something minor or it could be something major, but what you are communicating to your kids is that you want to know, that your there, that you are available, and that you are going to respond,” Henry explained.
She said possible signs of an issue are a change in the child’s behavior, like not wanting to go to places they normally want to go to or a dramatic change in their mood.
“Anything that bothers them or is unsafe shouldn’t have to be a secret, and that could be touch; it could be problems, gifts, videos, friendships,” Henry added. “None of that should have to be kept secret, and we want to teach our kids that if someone asks you to keep a secret like that, then that’s a red flag and to get help from a trusted adult.”
Kids need to also know that it’s never too late to tell someone of an incident even if it was years ago.
“They deserve to be heard, they deserve to be believed, and they deserve to get the help that they need even as you said years and years later,” Henry said. “What we know that abuse can be so disrupting to people’s lives and have such great impact on peoples lives. If that has happened to somebody, they deserve to get help and to heal.”
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