Yesterday I posted about the fact that we, as a family, do not keep secrets; I was overwhelmed by the response to it via Facebook, Twitter and the Blog so thank you. (If you missed it please click here)
This led me to want to write and share about something else that the NSPCC is promoting; something that I do with both my Boys.
The Underwear rule
The main goal for this is to have simple conversations with children in the aid to keeping them safe from sexual abuse.
We, as parents, have many conversations regarding safety and well-being from Road Safety to Bullying but when it comes to protection against sexual abuse the statistic show that many parents have either not thought about it or find it a scary subject to approach.The NSPCC guide is to help provide a simple but effective way to approach this topic:
“In fact, you don’t even have to mention ‘sexual abuse’. Simple conversations really can help keep your child safe, and that’s what we will help you with”The campaigns main tag line is “Think PANTS”
Each line of PANTS covers a different part of the Underwear Rule and provides a simple but valuable lesson that can keep a child safe.P Privates are Private!
Anything covered by underwear is private. No one should ask to see or touch parts of the body covered by underwear. If anyone tries, your child should say no. You can explain that there may be situations with Doctors, Nurses, Some Family members such as Mums and Dads where this is necessary; in these situations though you should explain that the adult should explain why they are asking you to and your parents should be there with you.
A Always remember that your body is yours and yours alone.Try to make it clear that their body belongs to them! Simple activities where your child uses their hands or feet can be a good starter at explaining that they have control of their body: “Can you grab that for me please? You’re so good at fetching things with your hands”
N No means No!
This can be a tough one because at times we install to a child that if an adult asks something from you that you generally do it. Yet, there should be times when you accept that your child will say no to certain situations. (Unless you go by the view “You do what I tell you” rule every time)By acknowledging your child’s voice and opinion and their right to say no should reinforce the concept that no means no when they are uncomfortable doing something.
T TalkThis is something that resonates throughout yesterday’s post; Secrets can be harmful and that we shouldn’t be promoting secret keeping. Any information should be viewed to be shared at some point. An example is a surprise: A child can keep something ‘secret’ for a period of time with the understanding that it will be revealed.
S Speak Up
This is a continuation of talking. Explain to your child that there will always be an adult that they trust that they can and should always approach if they feel upset, uncomfortable or scared. It can be anyone and doesn’t necessarily have to be a parent or family; discuss family members who make them happy or even a teacher or a friend’s parent.
The NSPCC suggest that this is ideally suited in simple conversations to 5 – 11 year olds. However, since I have been teaching William this I have at the same time been promoting segments of it to James.We have spoken about our different body parts belonging to ourselves and who controls them, as well as taking an active stance to listening to his voice and opinion in understanding that no means no.
I know that this isn’t a particularly nice topic to discuss or talk about but it is sadly a necessary thing to do whilst we are living in the harsh reality of the world.
Ultimately what the underwear rule and the NSPCC are doing here is encouraging children to talk about issues early, and listening to their thoughts and feelings. Through this parents can create the culture of openness that helps keep children safe from abuse; something that I am sure all of us want to do.
If you would like any further information then please click below for the relevant organisation:
NSPCC nspcc.org.uk 0808 800 5000
NSPCC Underwear rule guide Underwear Rule
ChildLine childline.org.uk 0800 1111