“I attended the Parenting Safe Children workshop and it was the most worthwhile and significant course I have taken as a parent.
I always assumed my kids (11, 9 & 6) were generally safe and protected because I thought of myself as a good parent. However, I quickly realized that I had much to learn and that my assumptions had to be challenged. For example, I learned why something as simple as making your children hug their grandparents makes them much more vulnerable to sexual offenders in the future. So now we discuss consent with our children and adult family members and allow our children to choose whether they want to give and receive hugs and kisses.
One of the greatest takeaways from the workshop for me as a dad is the visibility of a father figure and how that may reduce the risk of a groomer pursuing a child. So one way I practice prevention now is I make it a point to shake the hand of each coach, teacher, and person of authority with whom I entrust my children. I make it a point to have a large presence in their lives and communicate that I am indeed involved. Also, the body-safety rules I learned in this course have empowered me and my family to speak the same language – for example, we have removed the taboo of the words ‘penis’ and ‘vagina,’ and our children regularly recite that they are the bosses of their bodies.
While nothing is ever certain when it comes to preventing child sexual assault and grooming, the tools learned in this workshop are the best you can do as a parent in practicing prevention.”
From Feather: Men/fathers have an important role in their children’s prevention education. Some offenders say they look for children whose dads are not involved, attempting to take the role of a father. By having a large presence in your child’s life (mom or dad), you can reduce the vulnerability of child sexual assault. Jeff shakes the hand of each authority figure in his children’s lives to say, ‘Be on my prevention team’ and ‘My child is off limits.’ Way to go Jeff!
Feather Berkower, MSW, is Founder of Parenting Safe Children and a Child Sexual Assault Prevention Educator & Author