We may not want to think about sexual predators but the fact remains they are a threat to the innocence and well being of our children. To keep our children safe we need to teach them how to be safe and open up lines of communication. We need to explain the difference between inappropriate and appropriate touching. Many hate to discuss these matters since they feel children are innocent and this knowledge will take innocence away. Why should they have to be burdened that monster really do exist? Frankly, they need to know to protect their innocence.
Communicate: Open up lines of communication with your child. Talk to her about her day. Talk to her about things going on in her life and in the world. Set the standard that you are the one to come to with questions, concerns and her feelings. Further, talk openly about strangers, and let them know that not everyone has innocent motives. Tell your child that if she ever feels uncomfortable she can come to you for help.
Good Touch, Bad Touch: Talk to your child about identifying body parts. Let your child know that no one other than you or the doctor needs to see her undress or should ask to see any area of her body that bathing suit does not cover. Further, no one is to ever touch her (save you or the doctor if need be) in areas a bathing suit covers. If someone does she is to say no and immediately come and tell you. Also let her know that if she feels uncomfortable for any reason even if she is not being touched in private areas that she needs to tell you so you can discuss it.
No Secrets: Let your child know that any adult that asks her to keep a secret from her parents is wrong. Exceptions can be about surprise birthday parties or gifts. However, an adult should not be asking a child to keep anything a secret. Tell your child that if an adult touches her and tells her it is secret that she can and must tell you. Also let her know that bad people will say that they will hurt mommy or daddy if she tells but that is a lie. Tell her not be afraid of someone like that and you will handle it. Let her know that person is more afraid of mommy and daddy.
Saying No: Children often think they cannot say no to an adult. However, let her know that she can say no to anyone who is touching her in an inappropriate manner. She then must go to you, a teacher or trusted adult for help. Sadly, there are those times when someone we thought we could trust cannot be trusted. Explain to your child that she can say no to anyone and to tell you if anything happens.