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Talking tips: how to talk about the Underwear Rule

Talking tips: how to talk about the Underwear Rule

How and when to start conversations with your child about keeping themselves safe

Small, open and honest conversations are the best way to introduce the Underwear Rule to your child and talk about keeping safe.

Inevitably your child will have questions, so listen carefully and attentively and be straightforward in your answers.

You know your child best of all, so adapt the conversation and talk in a way that feels right for you both.

Add simple conversations to your daily routine
A good tip is not to treat it like a lecture. It's much better to find easy ways to have comfortable chats, little and often.

Adding simple conversations into your day or routine about staying safe will help prevent your child from feeling like it's a big deal, unusual or weird.

In the car
Car journeys are a great time to talk to your child. They're in a comfortable setting, with limited distractions.

Out for a walk
Strolling along a familiar route will help your child feel more at ease as you chat together.

To and from school
On your way to school, you can ask about who they would tell at school if something was upsetting them.

If your child has had classes about relationships or personal safety at school , for example, ask what they learned on the way home.

It's a good chance to measure your child's understanding and give you a starting point for more detailed conversations about the Underwear Rule and their safety.

The bedtime routine
When you're getting your child ready for bed - or helping them tie their shoelaces - you could talk about times when a trusted adult might need to touch them.

Going swimming
You can easily adapt the Underwear Rule to bathing costumes and talk about the idea of private parts being private, so that's why they are covered.

Listening to radio or watching TV
Your child may have heard a disturbing story on the news or a favourite soap might be handling a sensitive storyline.

Though we might sometimes wish our children hadn't heard something, it's best to address the point head on rather than dismiss it or pretend it hasn't happened.

Reframe the subject in words your child would find less frightening.

Also reassure them that if anyone or anything worries or upsets them, they can always talk to a trusted adult.

Being open and honest will help your child stay safe
If you speak honestly and in a way that makes the subject feel less shocking, your child will be more confident and comfortable in talking to you about difficult subjects.

In their own language
Use words and phrases your child will understand - don't be afraid to use the correct name for body parts.

Give straight answers to tricky questions
Don't shy away from awkward questions - answer them as best you can, in a way that's right for your child.

Speak openly and honestly
The more open and relaxed you are, the more your child will feel able to talk about anything that's worrying them.

Ask your child what they think
Conversations about right and wrong aren't easy.

Even when we talk to children about not letting people touch their private parts, we have to make exceptions such as visits to the doctor.

A great way to help children understand the grey areas is to encourage them to express their opinions and develop their own judgment.

Actively listen
Lean in, nod, smile and ask questions that show you're interested.

Showing your child you care about what they think and how they feel means they'll be more likely to come to you if something's really troubling them.

Read our active listening guide for parents for more tips.

Don't force the issue
If your child isn't interested in talking, don't force the issue. The last thing you want is for your child to feel it's a big deal, so wait for another opportunity at a different time.

Use books and stories
Reading a story can help you talk about difficult subjects in a way that is suitable for your child’s age and can help teach them to stay safe in terms they understand.


Ask your child to share with you who they can trust
Get your child to think about all the people in their life they can trust.

It shows them that, even if there's any reason they can't tell you something, they should never have to keep a worry to themselves.

Tell other adults your child knows the Underwear Rule
Let any other adults who regularly care for your child know that you've spoken about the Underwear Rule.

Your child may ask them follow up questions, so it will help the other adults to reinforce the same messages.

Keep the conversation going as they grow
Remember to keep the lines of communication open with your child and assure them that they can come to you with any question or concern.

As they grow up, they will have more questions and more capacity to understand these issues.

Having that openness means your child will feel comfortable talking and sharing worries with the family as the get older.


Using books and stories to help conversations
Reading a story can help you teach young children about sensitive subjects:

1.Find a book that you think fits your child’s age group.
2.Read it on your own first to check if you:
• like the messages
• think the story would appeal to your child.
3.Think of questions to ask your child about the experience of the character in the story, eg:
• “What did … do to stay safe?”
• “Could… have done anything else?”

4.Think of questions to ask your child about their own experiences, eg:
• “If this happened to you, who could you tell?”
• “What could you do to keep yourself safe?”

5.Think through messages to give your child such as how much you love them, that you are there to keep them safe and that they can tell you their worries.
6.Read the story with your child a couple of times.
7.After the second read through, ask a few of your questions.
8.Tell your child the key messages that you planned.
Suggested books*
For ages 3 to 8 years:
'Everyone's got a bottom'
by Tessa Rowley
Story about Ben and his brother and sister learning and talking together about bodies. Useful way to introduce the subject of self-protection.

For ages 3 to 10 years:
'NoNo the little seal: the gentle story of a little seal who learns to stay safe, say 'No', and tell'
by Sherri Patterson and Judith Feldman
Encourages children to talk about their worries through the story of NoNo. When his uncle touches him inappropriately and tells him to keep it a secret, NoNo struggles with whether it is wrong to tell and who he can talk to. Includes a guide for parents and a CD of the story with songs.

For ages 3 to 11 years:
Some secrets should never be kept
by Jayneen Sanders and illustrated by Craig Smith
A picture book that looks at keeping children safe from inappropriate touch. It includes notes the reader and discussion questions.

For ages 3 to 7 years
The right touch: a read-aloud story to help prevent child sexual abuse
by Sandy Kleven
Jimmy's mum explains the difference between good touches and touches that are uncomfortable, secret or forced. She tells him how to resist inappropriate touching and explains that abuse is not a child's fault. Provides advice on what to do if a child tells you about an abusive situation.

For ages 5 to 10 years:
'I said no!: a kid-to-kid guide to keeping private parts private'
by Zach King and Kimberly King
Explains what private body parts are, good and bad touching, scenarios of what someone may say, what to do if you feel uncomfortable, who trusted adults are and what to do if no one listens or believes you. Includes advice on reading the book with children.

For ages 1 to 5 years:
'Some parts are not for sharing'
by Julie Le Frederico
Friendly fish and underwater scenes are used to give a simple message about private body parts and safe touch.

For ages 2 to 8 years:
'It's my body: a book to teach young children how to resist uncomfortable touch'
by Lory Freeman
Gives examples of different types of touches to help children to recognise and resist uncomfortable touch.Covers touches that are: nice, acceptable but unwelcome, unpleasant but necessary (for example from doctors) and unacceptable. Stresses a child's right to protect their body.

United Kingdom , Children Abuse

Date: 10/16/2014 7:31:47 AM

By: LASSA web , nspcc.org.uk
 
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