Sunday, September 4, 2011

Helping our children in a tough world

I thought this was good advice in helping to prevent our children from becoming victims of sexual abuse.  We see that Olivia sets boundaries with people, yet people try to force us to make her break her boundaries. We have to put protecting Olivia above the feelings of others. Adults need to understand that helping Olivia to believe that she can protect herself for her whole lifetime begins now. Especially for a child with cognitive impairment who is going to have a hard time protecting herself.

Ironically, we also contradict ourselves at times by confusing our children or denying them the boundaries and safeguards we gave them for their protection. For example, we tell children it’s their body, yet we force them to hug and kiss a relative (yes, even their grandparents or aunts and uncles).  
Though this may be our cultural custom—to kiss and hug upon greeting or departing, it instills in children the idea that it’s their body but they have no rights and no boundaries when it comes to relatives. And since most children are abused by non-strangers, we are opening the door to possible abuse.
Instead of forcing the child to give hugs and kisses when they don’t wish to, explain to the adult that you are teaching your child to set boundaries for themselves and enlist their help.