Worried about your kids? Talk to them

Published 11:13 pm Friday, May 14, 2010

The arrest this week of a former recreation department scorekeeper on sodomy and harassment charges has Troy parents worried, and rightfully so.

While the charges are a long way from resolution, the allegations themselves stir parents’ concerns.

Any time allegations of misconduct or sexual assault involving juveniles are raised, parents instinctively react and worry about their children’s safety. More than anything, parents wonder: “What can I do to keep my child safe.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

And while there is no magic potion to protect children at all times, experts say communication and trust are the key to teaching children how to handle potential threats.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology, parents can prevent or lessen the chance of sexual abuse by:

Telling children that if someone tries to touch your body and do things that make you feel funny, say NO to that person and tell me right away

Teaching children hat respect does not mean blind obedience to adults and to authority, for example, don’t tell children to “always do everything the teacher or baby-sitter tells you to do.”

Establishing an open dialogue about sexual issues early on, to lay the groundwork so that they can talk to their children about sexual abuse without scaring them.

Fostering in their child a sense of ownership regarding his or her body. Parents should treat their bodies similarly.

And more than anything, parents should trust their instincts and talk to their children. The ability to talk to each other is the most valuable tool parents can have.