- Know where your children are at all times, and be familiar with their friends and activities.
- Acquaint ourselves with the family composition of the homes where your children play or visit. Is there adult supervision? Are there older siblings and/or teenage friends around? Does the single parent have a significant other present? Are there other adults in the house?
- Monitor your children's computer use. Know what they are doing. Have it in a family area, not in their room.
- Screen baby-sitters carefully. Check references before entrusting your children to anyone.
- Teach your children to trust their feelings and give them permission to say "NO" to what they think is wrong.
- Be alert to a teenager or adult who is paying an unusual amount of attention to your child.
- Understand that abusers often become friendly with families in order to gain trust and enable them to have access to the children.
- Teach your children that no one should touch or talk to them in a way that makes them uncomfortable, and if someone does, they should tell you.
- Listen carefully to all your children's fears and be supportive in all your discussions with them.
- Never force children to touch, hug, or kiss someone that they don't want to. If they are forced to do this, it signals to them that adults can impose themselves on children and make them do things they don't want to do.
- Be sensitive to changes in your child's behavior. This signals a need to sit down and talk with them about these changes.
- Ask your children if anyone makes them uncomfortable or has touched them where they shouldn't.
- People who abuse children look and act like everyone else.
ARCHDIOCESE OF DETROIT
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