I have used this video – Inviting Another Parent onto Your Prevention Team – in the Parenting Safe Children workshop to model how a parent might match expectations with another parent about body safety, before their kids play together.
The mom initiating the conversation asks some questions, shares her child's body-safety rules, and invites discussion. She acknowledges the awkwardness and pushes on, ultimately opening the door for an ongoing conversation about boundaries.
You'll see that one of the first questions is about who will be present and who will be supervising the play date. This question is important because older children/teens, might be around (even supervising at times) and contrary to common understanding, youth make up to one-third to half of all sexual offenses committed in the United States.
I often imagine what it would be like if all parents had these kinds of conversations with caregivers, and the impact it would have toward building homes and communities that are off limits to child sexual abuse. Prevention works, but we have to put it to work.
While it's important to teach children body-safety rules and teach kids how to say "No" and tell an adult, ultimately it is an adult's responsibility to keep children safe. And the best way for adults to do this is by inviting all caregivers onto the family's prevention team and making body safety as regular a topic as bike helmets and seat belts.
Let me know what you think of this video and what other kinds of videos you'd like Parenting Safe Children to produce.
(Credits: Big thanks to Jessica and Kay Lynn.)