Jamaican Mommies by Shanoy Coombs: From Jamaica; for the world
Our Moms Say series has been on hold for a bit, but as mothers, we always have things to say and so recently in our Jamaican Mommies Facebook group, we took on a more serious tone and asked
“With the increased incidences of Child sexual abuse, child abductions and murders, What do you believe can be done to stem this negative trend?”
Our #JamaicanMommies had this to say:
1. Educate and Inform:
Educate and inform our kids, tell them we live in a beautiful world but there are bad and good people; and as adults we need to deliberately look out for our neighbors/community kids. Return to the days when it really took a village or community to raise a child.
– C Lewis
2. Talk to our children
Talk often with your child and set a tone of openness. Talking openly and directly will let your child know that it’s okay to talk to you when they have questions. If your child comes to you with concerns or questions, make time to listen and talk to them.
Teach your child key safety principles. For instance: Teach children the names of their body parts so that they have the language to ask questions and express concerns about those body parts. If your child is uncomfortable or if someone is touching them, s/he should tell a trusted adult immediately.Let your children know that if someone is touching them or talking to them in ways that make them uncomfortable that it shouldn’t stay a secret.
Your child should know that s/he has the right to speak up if they are uncomfortable, or if someone is touching them inappropriately or making them feel uncomfortable. Let our children know that It’s okay to say “no” even to adults they know and family members.
Implement Internet safety protocols, and parental controls through platforms such as the Google Family Safety Center. Work with older children to set guidelines for who they can talk to online, and what information can be shared. For instance, be cautious when leaving status or away messages online and when using the “check-in” feature on Facebook or Foursquare.
Educate yourself about the warning signs of childhood sexual abuse. Know what to look for, and the best way to respond.
7. Redefine strangers:
Redefine the word ‘ stranger’… Random kids just come up to me all the time and just start talking and are at ease…the innocence of children…when I ask them to define stranger..they overwhelming say…’ Dirty looking, mad man..etc’… And teach them that it is often not the stranger who preys but the trusted friend, family and ‘ uncle’/and I don’t let me kids call anybody ‘ uncle’ unless is their actual uncle…most of all… Parents need to parent and be more selective in the people you trust !
8. Safety Plans
Go over safety plans with our children. We may take this for granted but as parents we should strive to find out police tips, self defense tips and even direction tips to share with our children in the event they are in an unfortunate situation and can somehow navigate their way out.
9. Teach them Beware of Gifts/Tell you EVERYTHING
I grew up very sheltered and naive. I was also abused as a child. Therefore, I talk to my child about almost every possible thing that can happen to her. I explain that people we trust sometimes can have moments of weakness and could possibly try to do things to her. She knows not to talk to or accept anything from strangers. I gave her that from her toddler years. Now she is older, with a mature body. I make her aware of people close to us because it’s them that are mostly the culprits.I try to not have her lacking much without spoiling her so she won’t accept bribery for herself. Teaching her to work for what she wants. So for example shes wants a dancing board. She knows she wont just get it like that if its not her birthday or Christmas. She knows she’ll have to do jobs around the house to earn and save for it. I think giving her that teaches her not to look to anyone for what she wants instead work for it. I also try to give her royalty confidence where she thinks she’s too valuable for certain things. Then I have her dressing a certain way for bedtime. All in precaution. But most of all I made sure we have a talking relationship. Making sure she feels comfortable telling me anything. I told her if anyone threatens her that when she really needs to talk to me. I think talking openly to your child should do the trick. Make them aware of their body and how people can try to hurt them…
– C. Hudson
10. Teach Self Defense
Ensure that our children learn self-defense, from as early as 5 years old onwards, especially girl children, but not exclusively. Karate, Kung Fu, Tae Kwando, whichever one. It will boost self confidence and can ward off any bully in school or will teach them to confidently fight back in the face of adult predators, abusers etc. Teach them not to accept touch ‘just so’, that their bodies belong to them and that they have a right to bodily autonomy. Protect that right for them vigilantly until they are confident to express it for themselves. Adults often do not give children the space say things assertively and often dismiss it as rude or “too assertive”. Children are citizens too, not just when they become adults. Adults need to remember that. Most of the stories we hear about child abuse, on the back end was an adult, friend of relative that did not listen, that did not believe. Listen to them, believe them when they say that someone has hurt them and ACT.
– T. Heron
As this is a super important topic, this #MomsSay listing will be continuously updated. Do you have a tip on how moms can better prepare their children in relation to child abuse? Let us know in the comments below. Also join the discussion via our Social Media platforms at:
1. Jamaican Mommies Facebook Page
2. Jamaican Mommies Facebook Group
3. @JamaicanMommies on Instagram
4. @JamaicanMommies on Twitter
Remember to SUBCRIBE to get content in your inbox!