How parents can talk to children about sexual assaults

EAST LANSING, Mich. – When it comes to sexual assault, it doesn’t hurt to start educating your kids at an early age.

According to Child Psychologist John Braccio, all it takes is knowing the difference between “good” and “bad” touching.

“I think even at 2 you can start…if you’re giving the child a bath you can indicate what are private parts, identify the parts of the body, make sure they know what there are, that they can state what they are and indicate that the private parts are private and they’re special and they’re not for other people to touch,” said Braccio.

Braccio says sexual abuse happens more often than not.

“We’re looking at 1 in 4 for girls and 1 in 6 for boys before they’re 18,” Braccio stated.

The numbers can be startling and that’s why Braccio says getting boys and girls educated on the issue, should start at a young age and continue through their teenage years.

He also says it’s crucial for parents to create an open relationship with their children to provide a “safe space.”

“It’s really critical that parents really educate their children,” Braccio added.

Braccio says it’s all about keeping open communication and being aware.

“You don’t want to turn it into the point where they’re terrified or afraid of parts of their body but that they’re aware that they are special and only for them or in the case of a parent, the caretaker who’s looking after the parent,” said Braccio.

He says it all comes down to “good parenting” and regardless of a child’s age, it’s never too early to teach your kids the difference between right and wrong when it comes to sexual abuse.

“If you’re a good parent, you certainly can tell if something is ary with your child so this needs to be part of the normal ongoing education,” Braccio added.

Braccio also says if your child has experienced any kind of sexual assault, contact the police, child protective services, a family doctor or a counselor immediately.

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