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How can I teach my child to say no to someone who might try to abuse them?

Michele Borba
Psychology
Studies show that kids under the age nine rarely say “no” to a sexual offender because they were taught to obey adults. So give permission for your child to yell "no" to whoever the adult. Peter A. Levine and Maggie Kline, authors of Trauma-Proofing Your Kids, point out:

“In order for children to develop the capacity to stop someone from improper, hurtful, uncomfortable or confusing touch, they must have practice and experience with the right of refusal in other areas of the life. In this way it becomes a natural part of their self-confidence and is imprinted in their developing brain.”

For younger children: “If someone tries to touch you in places your bathing suit covers or makes you feel at all afraid or uncomfortable, say, 'NO!' I will not be angry -- whoever the adult is. You will not be in trouble.”

For teens: “You should expect to be respected and if ever you say 'no' to someone’s sexual advance, the person should respect your wishes. If not, get help. (Define rape and abuse.)

Ninety percent of sexual offenders are people the child or your family knows -- including the parents’ friends, a babysitter, an older sibling or relative -- so avoid describing abusers as strangers, which can be confusing.

Online predators usually are strangers, but they slowly befriend or “groom” the child, and then try to set up a face-to-face meeting. Review: “Never meet someone online offline.” And: “Who you meet online is rarely the same person offline.”
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.