Talking to kids about sex is already an awkward and uncomfortable proposition. But talking to them about inappropriate touching and sexual abuse can even be more difficult. While we had an expert talk about the basic guidelines on how you can talk to them about sexual abuse, it's still a tough conversation, which is why we thought starting the talk with the video at the end of this article may be helpful.
First though let us talk to you about its origin. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in the U.K. had recently released an animated short film starring a dinosaur called Pantasaurus to help parents talk to young children ages 4 to 8 years old about sexual abuse. In the film, the pants-wearing dino teaches children about owning their bodies and learning how to say no to inappropriate requests. "We know many parents will struggle with the idea of talking to their children about sexual abuse, but it’s vital if we want our children to understand how to stay safe," NSPCC CEO Peter Wanless told The Huffington Post.
The PANTS initiative was first launched in 2013 and claims to have helped parents talk to their children about the sensitive topic. The name is actually an acronym for the basic rules your kids should know when it comes to sexual abuse:
Here are some of the NSPCC’s guidelines parents should keep in mind while talking to young kids about it:
1. Have the talk early. You also don’t want to scare or upset your children, but it’s better to have the conversation earlier than you think. There's nothing to be afraid of.
2. Timing is everything. You may be ready, but your child isn't--and that's okay. The important thing is you don't force the issue. Try to make it sound like it's not a big deal.
3. Use small frequent conversations. A one-time big time talk will not cut it for young kids who might not yet fully understand the concepts of sex and abuse. Everyday talks will help your child adapt the message.
4. Be open to answering their questions. Not dismissing their queries will help children feel confident that they can confide in you anytime. Think of it as an excellent teaching opportunity.
5. Hold off on the negative reactions. If your child tells you about a worrisome incident, set aside the negative vibes. Choose to react with love, support, openness, and reassurance first.
While PANTS is not available here, we found a video that basically summarizes its message. It's a catchy tune! Watch:
The song's lyrics read: "What’s in your pants belongs only to you / Your pants cover up your private parts / Your private parts belong only to you / If someone asks to see just tell ‘em no."
The words are simple, but they are easy to understand. Remember many kids retain information when it's done through play or with a song. We are sure you've made a "brush my teeth" song or a "pack your toys away" song, and they worked! Why not try this?
You can also let your child take this quiz made by the NSPCC to see what he learned.