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Incidences of sexual abuse of children seem to be rising. It’s practically impossible to open a newspaper or log on to a news site without reading about how some pervert has sexually abused a 3 year old. What is really sad is that most abuses are carried out by people close to the family…cousins, uncles and even fathers. There is no doubt that speaking to your child about these things is really important.
However we understand that not many people feel comfortable talking to their 4 year old about sex. I know I’m not. I have taught her about keeping her privates private, but somehow I felt there was still something lacking. Then I was pointed to the Underwear Rule and I knew I just had to share. It is a simple and decent way to talk to your children without using the word sex.
The Underwear Rule
Basically the underwear rule is a way to keep your children safe from sexual abuse without using words that will scare them. It uses the acronym PANTS.
P – Privates are private
A – Always remember your body belongs to you
N – No means no
T – Talk about secrets that upset you
S – Speak up, someone can help
Teach your child that the parts covered by underwear are private and that no one should ask to touch or see their private parts. So that you don’t confuse the child, also explain that sometimes, nurses or doctors might ask to see those parts and that it is OK but they are free to ask Why.
The reason why sexual abuse goes on for so long is that most children are afraid to speak up. They don’t know who they can talk to. I had a friend who was being touched by an ‘uncle’ in the house and when she told her mother, the mother hushed her up and told her not to slander a ‘good christian man.’ Thankfully, her father overheard the conversation and decided to take matters into his hands and that was how that stopped.
Too many parents are like my friend’s mum. You can’t vouch for anyone and it is the ones you think could never abuse your child sexually that are actually the most likely to do so. Not talking about sexual abuse does not protect the child, it only protects the adult.
Let’s talk pants and get it covered!
For more information about how to talk to your child and how to use The Underwear Rule, check the NSPCC. You can also download the PDF guide while you’re there.