Parenting Connection: How to keep older kids safe from abuse

Parenting Connection

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: How to keep older kids safe from abuse

Last week we focused on keeping kids 5 and younger safe — and now – we look at how to do this for older kids. Experts say the biggest shift for how parents can accomplish this is by expanding how they communicate.

Children 6 and older, especially teenagers, are a lot more aware of the real world, and so the conversations you have must be different, like when it comes to body ownership, boundaries & consent. Remember, according to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, a juvenile involved in a sexual abuse case knew their perpetrator 93-percent of the time — so experts at Michigan State University’s Extension office say if we’re going to prevent it, we must all think, talk, and take action about it — and the best thing to do according to child development expert Kylie Rymanowicz, is to empower older kids.

“Once they have developed more cognitively and a better understanding of the world, it’s about having different conversations with them about how they keep themselves safe.”

Here are a few ways parents can do this:
*Talk with your child about their body and about how their body is changing during adolescence
*Teach about body boundaries
*Teach your child about consent
*Teach about secrets
*Be involved in your child’s interaction with others

Experts say parents and guardians must take an active role to find out about the people that are interacting with your child, both physically and online.

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