The real answer will depend on the circumstances and your willingness to take appropriate steps.
It's not clear what is the best thing to do, because there are too many variables, and every situation is different. The various possibilities are
- Do nothing - easiest and the most wrong response.
- Tell your kid not to go near that person again
- If you have the courage, go to that person and let them know "My child was not comfortable with the way you behaved. Be careful." Be careful of the phrasing, be firm, have clear eye contact. If possible, take the child along.
- Let it be known on the grapevine that the responsible person is not to be trusted around kids
- Go to police. You'll be surprised at how good the police are with this issue.
- If you think your child is affected, go to a doctor. Could be a GP or pediatrician. Child psychiatrist if possible - but there are not too many of those.
- Note: never ask your kid what to do next. Take a decision and follow through. Don't ask the kid for an opinion.
Out of the above, do what you think is right. In fact, neither you nor we can predict how you'll react, so no point analyzing that too much.
Please - do not sweep it under the carpet. Do not be satisfied with safeguarding you kids only. Abusers often abuse many kids over years so an abuser let off, will continue to hunt other kids !!
Doing this training in a group (small bunch of kids, and maybe their parents too) can be very helpful.
If there's a parent who's abusive, then the child has nowhere to go; but a group session might give him/her the idea of going to one of the other parents, or maybe to another child who was in the same group. Having another child as a "buddy" is useful in many ways.
Such kids will often identify a person outside their family as a safe adult. Or, they may fail to identify a safe adult at all ! It is always worthwhile to take some separate time out and talk to such kids.
Many kids are looked after by maids, grandparents or older siblings. Abuse can very well happen in these situations. It is important to let you kids get in the habit of reporting ALL bad touch to you.
You can decide if that touch was really abuse. If a person is touching your kid without intention of abuse but the kid does not like it then it is better to tell that person to stop touching your kid in that way. This is very relevant with grandparents and maids.
You can try and answer questions as best as you can. If you feel uncomfortable about the answer, it is absolutely okay to tell the kids that you feel uncomfortable answering that question. If you say that with a smile, they will understand and will let you off the hook !
Older kids (older than 10 years old) are usually trapped by abusers by using Temptation & Blackmail.
Boys are tempted by showing pornography. And once they have seen the pornography, then they can be blackmailed by saying "I'll tell your parents".
Girls can be blackmailed in various ways. "I have your photographs, and I'll put them on the internet." The abuser doesn't even need a photograph. Just take a photo from the internet with similar profile and claim it is that girl's photograph. And once the girl is scared of her photos going on the internet (or in the wrong hands), then she'll go a long way to avoid that.
How can parents counteract this:
- Be reasonable about porn. Extreme reactions push kids away. Do not treat every mistake as a catastrophe.
- Remember the vaccination principle: booster doses every 6 months till kids tell you to buzz off.
- Multiple instances of showing faith in your kids and letting them commit mistakes goes a long way to build their faith in you.
The way this program is designed, you can conduct this session yourself. Just watch the video, read the provided material, download and print the handouts, and you can conduct a session. You do not require any special expertise, knowledge, or training. All the best.
If you have any specific questions, please contact us
and we can help you.