Sexual Abuse Prevention Starts Now


It seems secrecy and shame often allow abusers to hurt others and to offend repeatedly. So much of what my husband and I are doing to help protect our kids from abuse is to create relationships of trust and openness with them. Our kids are six, four, and two, and I believe this is the best time to start!

Here’s how we’re fostering that trust and openness and other ways we are teaching our kids to protect themselves.

Praise Honesty — Especially IMMEDIATE Honesty

When our kids admit something they’ve done wrong, I try to stay very calm and immediately thank and praise them for being honest. If the offense just happened and they share the problem with me immediately, I express extra pride in their wise decision to tell the truth quickly.

Our daughters still have to face consequences for their actions, but we want them to understand from an early age that making a mistake and being honest about it is much better than making a mistake and hiding it.

If one of our kids disobeys but tells me what she did on her own, I will hug her, tell her how proud I am that she chose to tell me the truth, and assure her the punishment would have been much worse had she not come to me. I’ll also say something to the effect of, “Because you came to me about this, we can work together to figure out a solution.” Then we can discuss a punishment that fits her crime. 

Even if someone does something wrong to our daughters (of which they are either completely innocent or somehow partially to blame), we want our daughters to always know they can tell us the truth, and we will calmly embrace them and will work together to figure things out. 

All Topics Are Welcome

We try to calmly discuss any questions that our kids ask or subjects that arise, even if they are conversations we don’t really feel that comfortable with. We want them to know that we talk about everything within our family.

We want to foster an environment of openness so that our kids will always feel safe to ask questions, share their own feelings, and be open about anything going on in their lives — no matter how painful or uncomfortable.

Don’t Intentionally or Recklessly Embarrass 

I know ALL parents embarrass their kids on some level, but we try not to embarrass our children on purpose, as it seems some parents do. We want them to know we don’t get any joy from seeing them embarrassed.   

This also means keeping things that our kids share with us private. Nothing embarrasses more than overhearing your mom repeat something that you told to just her. We try to keep things they tell us private. (Obviously I’m not referring to criminal things.) We want to be an emotionally safe place. 

Be Non-Judgmental of Others

When our kids see us judging others, they know that we can just as harshly and easily judge them.

While we must teach our kids right from wrong, and I’m all for pointing out bad decisions others make to hopefully save my kids from making the same, we have to do so in love and grace. We can recognize an act is wrong without speaking in a way that looks down on others.

We want our kids to see that we don’t judge people based on wrong things they may be a part of, because our kids are going to make plenty of poor decisions. We want them to feel safe that we aren’t going to love them less them for something negative that happened to them or that they did. (I’m not suggesting that if our children are abused, it’s their fault. But abusers often make victims feel that way, so they might not understand the difference when they come to us.) 

Encourage Them to Listen to Their Instincts and to Speak Up for Themselves

This is especially challenging as we strive to raise respectful, obedient children, but we have to balance these values with teaching our kids to listen to their own God-given instincts.

We try not to force our kids to do things that make them uncomfortable and that are solely to make others happy (like hug people). We also try to listen and actively investigate when our kids feel uncomfortable around certain people or in certain environments. Although kids often don’t know what they are feeling exactly, it’s important that we take time to help them develop a keen ability to listen to their feelings and to make adjustments accordingly for safety.

We also encourage our kids to respectfully share their feelings when they don’t like something or don’t want to do something (within reason). It’s crucial that our children feel empowered to speak up for themselves — even with family members, teachers, doctors, preachers, neighbors, friends, etc. Because we know most children are abused by those they know, not strangers they can run away from.

Give Them a Way Out

Finally, we want our kids to ALWAYS know that, no matter where they are, what time it is, or who they are with, they can call us and we will come get them.

If they feel uncomfortable and don’t know what to say, they can always say, “I feel sick.” Even if they aren’t physically sick, if they feel something is wrong, their hearts feel sick. If I hear that, they won’t have to say another word, and we’ll be there in a flash.

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Proud to be raised in Burleson (shout out Kelly Clarkson), Jami was even the Elk mascot for her beloved Burleson High School. Jami's greatest pleasure comes from exploring the world and learning about all the beautifully unique people in it, so she started a business in the summer of 2021 taking groups of women around the world! Her business, Women Exploring the World has already taken women to experience Christmas markets in Bruges, Brussels; Paris, and London. They've also taken women to Costa Rica, Italy, Tanzania/Zanzibar, Scotland, and to Norway to see the Northern lights. Jami's greatest gift is her family, Corban, her beloved hubby; Jessy (born 2011); Maggy (born 2013); Lilly (born 2015); and Jude (born 2018). Besides running her travel business, Jami spends her days having adventures with her kids, homeschooling them part-time, assistant coaching PE, attempting to keep her brother and sister labradors out of trouble, keeping her son from killing their cat, and supporting her husband at his Edward Jones office downtown Fort Worth. Jami is a woman secure in God's love for her. He is her first love.


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