Over the past few weeks, multiple incidents of adult misconduct against children have appeared in the media. It is these types of situations that bring attention to an issue that is all too pervasive in our communities.
As adults, we can work together to prevent harm to children in many different ways:
§ Create environments that support healthy development in children – normalize conversations with children about empathy, anatomy, development, healthy relationships, and boundary setting.
§ It is our responsibility to recognize situations that feel uncomfortable and articulate our concerns. If something feels off, try to put words to what feels off and why. Oftentimes, we overthink a situation and talk ourselves out of doing something.
§ Respond to boundary violations or other situations that make you feel uncomfortable. Describe the behavior, set a limit, and move on. It is not about confrontations or accusations, but merely letting other adults know that our children are surrounded by caring and aware adults who will step in the gap to protect children and prevent abuse.
§ Remember, if you suspect child abuse or neglect, call 1-844-CO-4KIDS to report your concerns.
§ Check to see if the youth serving organizations in your area – including schools, churches, recreation centers, sports leagues, summer/day camps, child care facilities, etc – have policies to prevent child abuse. Be aware and involved in advocating for safe spaces for children in our communities. If an organization does not have policies in place, they can contact Illuminate for more information.
Children and youth are not in a position, nor should they be, to prevent abuse, and we must be their voice. When we can put aside our own uneasiness, get support from those around us, and stand up for children and youth, we can make a difference.
Want to better recognize boundary violations and build skills to protect children? Learn more at https://illuminatecolorado.org/training.