Prepare, Don’t Scare.
I am a mom of three teenagers. But, it seems like just yesterday I was reading stories to my children at bedtime. When the time was right, I introduced the topic of healthy bodies, inappropriate touch, and normal human development. I read a number of books to my kids that covered the topic of sexual abuse prevention. Some of the books were helpful in a very basic way. There were a few that tried to define “good touches vs. bad touches”. This concept was a bit confusing for my kids. But, I did my best at reading the books with my kids and talking over the topic.
Following a difficult night at a sleepover, I realized that there were some missing pieces in the books at the time. Nobody was talking about the possibility that this type of thing could happen with a friend. I also noticed that nobody was providing kids with tools and strategies to help them avoid situations by noticing when they are in danger.
We created I Said No! A kid-to-kid guide to keeping private parts private to include definitions, scenarios, strategies, and help kids identify their feelings in a kid-friendly, but clear way. Helping kids practice what to to Think, Say, and Do- took us down a path of generating real life scenarios kids may encounter. I Said No! really encourages all sorts of communication on the topic without shame, guilt or uncomfortable feelings. Also covered in I Said No is the difficult challenge of Telling. Children are encouraged to tell and know that it is never their fault.
Below are a few of the really important books on this topic, in no particular order. They are all unique and valuable in there own way and really must be included in your sexual abuse prevention toolbox. These books, although on the same topic, present the material in a different way. With the added pressure and risk that the internet and smart phones provide for our children, a daunting challenge has been created for parents.
The books listed below are all essential and cover the basics like body boundaries and tickles to protecting your kids from the new sexual abuse red flag… online pornography. Don’t be scared. These books are all kid-friendly and will help you prepare… but not scare your kids. I would suggest reading them all!
“I Said No! A kid-to-kid guide to keeping private parts private
by Kimberly and Zack King
2017/2008 Ages 5-10
See the description above.
NO Trespassing – This Is MY Body!
By Pattie Fitzgerald
2011 Ages 3-7
Brother and sister learn about personal safety, private parts, and “thumbs up/thumbs down” touches by talking with their mom in conversational manner. The dialog is empowering for kids and does not create fear for the discussion. The mom in the story also covers the topic of secrets. They have a “No Secrets” rule in the family. Mom explains that “it is never their fault if they get an uh-oh feeling from anyone”.
The story is written with positive language and has an engaging approach.
A “Parent’s Guide with Prevention Tips” is included to help parents understand their role in keeping children safe from sexual abuse. A great book to read to younger children that encourages communication and talking in a child-friendly way. This book is unique in that it encourages sexual abuse prevention discussions from a family perspective.
Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept
By Jayneen Sanders
2015 Ages 4-8
This story is a nicely illustrated children’s picture book that carefully approaches the topic of inappropriate touch and how to stay safe.”We teach water and road safety, but how do we teach Body Safety to young children in a way that is neither frightening nor confronting?”
This book is a great resource for parents as it approaches the topic in a comprehensive way through characters that children are familiar with. The main character is a young knight and the story takes place in a castle. The story teaches kids how to notice when things feel uncomfortable and to speak up. A truly unique way to introduce the topic that is really light and not scary for kids.The medieval setting really lightens up the topic and appeals to boys and girls.
Good Pictures/ Bad Pictures
By Kristen Jensen and Gail Poyner
2014 Ages 5-10
Good Pictures Bad Pictures is a much needed book! It is a pleasant, read-aloud book about parents who teach their child what pornography is and why it’s dangerous. The story references science and common sense to address this really difficult and uncomfortable situation which can often lead emotional difficulties and puts children at risk.
“The 5-point CAN DO Plan teaches kids how to avoid the brain-warping images of pornography and minimize the troubling memories of accidental exposure that often tempt kids to look for more and lead them into a dark and destructive addiction. To stay safe in the digital age, kids must install an internal filter in their own brain. Good Pictures Bad Pictures shows them how.”
Considering the risk of sexual abuse that is always present online, this book is a must as part of the sexual abuse prevention toolbox. Also available in Spanish.
Your Body Belongs to You
By Cornelia Spelman
1997 Ages 3-8
A great place to start! This book is simple, short, and easy to read. But, it provides children with clear and comforting words. The author explains that a child’s body is his or her own and starts the body boundary discussion. Kids learn that it is “ok to say no to a friendly hug or kiss, even from someone they know or love”. The story continues to define what parts are private and helps kids learn that they should never be touched by people other than doctors/ nurses and when they need help with bathroom issues. An easy read that will not scare your kids. It is older than the books listed above. But, it was the book we read to our children and has remained a relevant and valuable book on this topic for young children.