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How can we help our young children recognize and avoid sexual, physical and emotional abuse?

Father talking to son

​​​This information is included in our Substance Abuse Guide. Click here to see the rest of the guide.

Be frank. Manipulators and abusers do exist and an informed child is less likely to become their victim. Young children need to be made aware of the differences between good and bad touch. If you're too uncomfortable discussing aspects of sexual abuse with your ​youngsters, there are videos and booklets on safe touch available from most public libraries and pediatricians.

Just as harmful as physical and sexual mistreatment, is ​emotional abuse. For many kids, simply recognizing the abuse is difficult. It is the parents' responsibility to help their children avoid negative relationships and foster healthy ones.

The key component to protecting a child from any form of abuse is frequent and open communication. Through communication, you develop and maintain a trusting relationship with your children and they become more comfortable sharing their problems with you. As a parent, you must also be vigilant. Stay in tune with your kid's feelings and be aware of any dramatic changes in their mood or behavior.

The Boys Town Press has a number of resources for parents that deal with issues of abuse. For information on Boys Town resources for parents and educators, call 1-800-282-6657.