Sex education helps prevent sexual abuse

News

Research shows talking with your kids about their bodies, boundaries, and ultimately about sex reduces the risk of them engaging in wild sexual behavior when they reach their teenage years.

Megan Maas, a sex education professor from Michigan State University says, these discussions with your kids goes even further than that. She says providing your kids with time-appropriate knowledge about sex and their bodies will also dramatically decrease their chances of becoming a sexual assault victim.

“If you are worried about sexual abuse one of the best things you can do with young kids is talk to them honestly about their bodies.”

This means, discussing the proper names for their genetalia, helping them understand these private parts, that they can touch their own, but shouldn’t be touching others and that other people shouldn’t be touching them.

“There’s some research showing sexual abuse perpetrators will pick on victims that don’t know the names for their genetalia on purpose,” says Maas, “because they know they are not having those conversations with their parents.”

It is recommended parents start speaking about bodies and boundaries with their children by age 3. At this point in their life, many still need help from adults like from doctors or child care providers, so your discussion should include a few scenario’s. 

“You can tell them it’s different when an adult is helping you stay clean or healthy, that kind of thing.”

Sure, it’s a sensitive subject that can cause nerves or embarrassment at first, but many experts say as soon as these conversations start with your children, the safer your kids will become.   

“It feels great, now that this channel of communication is open, which is what you’re really trying to establish early on.

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