Resources for Parents & Kids!
Tips for Parents
One of the most important things you can do for your child is create an atmosphere of open and honest communication. Body safety is a critical topic to discuss with your children. Plan ahead. Know what you’ll talk about and pick a time in their schedule when it is easiest for them to pay attention. Below you’ll find resources to help you have those conversations in an age-appropriate manner.
We love the content on Mama Bear Effect! Starting with infants and toddlers and continuing all the way into the teen years, there are resources to help you and your child. We recommend starting here.
If you’re in a hurry, here are some quick resources for you:
Empowering Children (Mama Bear Effect): This graphic provides tips for parents on raising empowered children who can help keep themselves safe.
Sexual Abuse Prevention Tip Sheet (Mama Bear Effect): This tip sheet summarizes 5 things parents can implement to help protect their children from sexual abuse.
Safe Sleep Over Tip Sheet (Darkness to Light): This tip sheet provides some wonderful information to help create a safer experience for your child during sleepovers.
Tools for Talking with Kids
If talking with your kids about sexual abuse or body safety leaves you not knowing where to start – don’t worry – it is easier than you think. The resources below are kid and parent friendly and can help you navigate the conversation. We’ve listed a few of our favorites but there are so many useful resources out there.
The Mama Bear Effect also has coloring pages you can use as a fun activity to reinforce body safety concepts.
5 Super Body Safety Rules (Mama Bear Effect): This is a great image that reminds children of the basic rules of body safety. Superhero themed, this page is fun and a great introduction to body safety!
Your Bodily Rights (Mama Bear Effect) Ages 6+: Designed for children ages 6 and up, this page helps remind children of their rights to safety and privacy.
Early Warning Signs/Instincts (Educate2Empower): Teaching children to trust their instincts is an important step in protecting children from abuse. This graphic helps show kids what happens to their bodies when instincts warn of danger.
Make your home a ‘No Secrets’ home! Secrets aren’t safe and surprises are fun! Teach your children early that there are no secrets from Mom and Dad. Once again, our friends at Mama Bear Effect have some great language on this:
“Even convicted abusers have admitted to being surprised by how easy it was to get a child to keep their abuse a secret. Secrecy is, obviously, essential for the abuser to victimize. Many abusers will groom children by testing them to keep small secrets (don’t tell mom I gave you this) and then take it further. By teaching your children at an early age that secrets from mommy/daddy are not allowed, you are reducing the risk for this ploy to work on your child. A surprise is one thing – because the end result will be the person finding out. A secret is not allowed. Lead by example and make sure the child and your friends/family know that secrets are not allowed – even if it’s just about sneaking some cookies before dinner.”
The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) uses the following definition of grooming:
Grooming is a method used by offenders that involves building trust with a child and the adults around a child in an effort to gain access to and time alone with her/him. In extreme cases, offenders may use threats and physical force to sexually assault or abuse a child. More common, though, are subtle approaches designed to build relationships with families. The offender may assume a caring role, befriend the child or even exploit their position of trust and authority to groom the child and/or the child’s family. These individuals intentionally build relationships with the adults around a child or seek out a child who is less supervised by adults in her/his life. This increases the likelihood that the offender’s time with the child is welcomed and encouraged. Read the full article on the American Bar Association’s website. This link gives a brief overview of what grooming is and the steps taken by a perpetrator in the grooming process.
Look here fo an in depth look at what grooming, the stages of grooming, and red flag signs of grooming.
If you want a more in depth look at grooming, Abducted in Plain Sight is a documentary that shows an extreme case of grooming. Search your streaming services to watch this documentary.
Parents are often concerned when their child becomes curious about body parts. Understanding appropriate behaviors can help you recognize abnormal sexual behaviors that could be indicative of sexual abuse. This handout from the organization Darkness to Light gives good examples for parents to know what is healthy and what is unhealthy as well as tips for facilitating health sexual development.
Consent is a concept that needs to be taught to all children. This gives them power of their own bodies and teaches respect for others’ bodies. Below you’ll find some resources to help you get started having these conversations with your kids.
For Younger Kids
This article helps equip parents to teach consent to even young children.
This video talks about consent in a friendly way for young children:
Aimed at teens, this video details sexual consent through the lens of drinking tea. Please note this link is to a clean version of this video. There is a version online that includes profanity.
Copyright ©2015 Emmeline May and Blue Seat Studios
Parenting is hard. Sometimes kids misbehave. This link identifies common behavioral problems in each age group and offers solutions as to how to discipline each scenario. It covers toddlers through teenagers.
This link teaches the basic of using natural consequences to help discipline and teach children.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)
According to the CDC:
Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). For example:
- experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect
- witnessing violence in the home or community
- having a family member attempt or die by suicide
Also included are aspects of the child’s environment that can undermine their sense of safety, stability, and bonding such as growing up in a household with:
- substance misuse
- mental health problems
- instability due to parental separation or household members being in jail or prison
ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance misuse in adulthood. ACEs can also negatively impact education and job opportunities. However, ACEs can be prevented.
In this TED Talk, Nadine Burke Harris discusses the Adverse Childhood Experiences(ACE) study. She explains the long-term physical and psychological effects that come from childhood trauma.
Here you’ll find an overview of what qualifies as an ACE and how it affects the body, brain, and your DNA.
Younger children have ever-increasing access to unsupervised time on the internet. While the internet has learning benefits, it can also be a very dangerous place for children of any age. Supervision of any time on the internet (including game play) is critical to keeping your children safe.
This article discusses the balance of monitoring internet usage for safety while promoting trust.
This link is to a Google Drive that includes detailed graphics on safety on a variety of online apps, platforms, and games. This is great information for parents looking to keep their children safe online!
Healthy Teen Relationships
Your teens will have relationships whether you approve or not. Encourage open communication and be on the lookout for any signs that something might be wrong. One of the best things we can do for teens is model respectful loving relationships for them. Here are some resources that will help you know what to look for and encourage your teens to set their own boundaries.
Characteristics of relationships spectrum from healthy to abusive can be found here.
This link gives access to tips on how to set physical, emotions and digital boundaries.