By Leah Howell, Training Coordinator, The Protect Our Children Project of  The Children’s Adv0cacy Center of Jackson County

One aspect of effective child sexual abuse prevention is creating a relationship with your child or other children in your care that encourages openness about their body boundaries.

Adults should always support a child in deciding for themselves when and how they choose to show physical affection. Encouraging this autonomy establishes that the child is in control of the decisions that concern their bodies.  If a child feels uncomfortable or uneasy or resistant to physical affection, they should be encouraged to verbalize and act on it without opposition from parents or other adults.

While taking the Stewards of Children training, participants are asked to think about how they would start a conversation with their child about establishing their body boundaries.  This is a very important ongoing discussion to have with your child.

Many times this is an intimidating idea for parents who may not be comfortable knowing what to say, or how to start this conversation with their children. There are a number of age appropriate books and stories that will aid a parent in starting the conversation, and to help a child to understand.  This blog summarizes a number of these helpful books: