Child Abuse and Neglect 

Helping Parents Talk to Children 

There are two aspects to keep in mind as we begin.  The first is helping parents prepare themselves to talk with their children.  Many parents are hesitant to talk with their children about child abuse and neglect.  Reasons for this vary widely, but include things such as:

I think it works best to first acknowledge these with parents.  Tell them many parents, in the beginning, share these concerns. However, children have been taught about these issues for many years through schools, and community programs and are experience has been that these situations don’t occur.  Children will handle this as well as parents do and sometimes maybe even better.
The second aspect is finding the right words.  My goal is to keep it as simple and easy as possible.  These tips may help:
1. Keep it simple.  Children don’t need many details. You don’t have to explain details of physical or sexual abuse or neglect.
2. If you are relaxed, your child will be relaxed.
This can be easier if you pick a relaxed time to talk with them.  Maybe over lunch, or while driving in the car or walking to the park.  You can begin casually with introductory lines such as:

3. If you feel nervous, tell them.  Your child will sense it anyway.  Explain that sometimes it’s hard to explain things or some things might feel sad to think about, but are important to talk about.
4. Include this dialogue in the other “safety” talks you do with children, such as, fire safety, traffic safety, and now, personal safety.
5. Have the conversations regularly, not necessarily frequently, but regularly. We continually remind our children about crossing the street and not playing with matches, etc.  It is ok to remind them to that if anyone ever hurts them or makes them feel uncomfortable, they should tell someone.
6. Choice of language will assist in making easier for you to say and easier for your child to understand.  Some easy phrase could be:

7. If you are really uncertain about making this about your child, start off by talking about a “what if” regarding a friend.
8. Always give your child options / scenarios of what to do if there is a problem.

9. Always remind them that you will always try your best to make sure they are safe. 
10. Be ready in case your child has something to tell you.

More Ideas

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