285: Preventing Childhood Sexual Abuse, One Talk at a Time // Dr. Tia Kim


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As a parent, one of my biggest fears is that my child will become a victim of sexual abuse. But despite this being something that I do think about often, I have put off having pointed conversations with my children about this because it’s just so hard and upsetting and scary. I think I’ve assumed that if I just keep an extra watchful eye on my kids and monitor who they are spending time with and watch for all red flags and signs, then maybe I can keep them safe. But the more I’ve researched this, the more I’ve realized that children who know about sexual abuse are actually safer–because they themselves know what is and is not okay and they can seek help sooner if they recognize that something is off in the way that an adult or an older child in their life is treating them. 


So I’m committed to having more conversations with my kids about this difficult topic, and I wanted to bring some of what I’ve been learning on to the podcast in case you also want to have these conversations with your kids but don’t know where to start.  


Today I’m interviewing Dr. Tia Kim, VP of Education, Research & Impact at The Committee for Children.  Dr. Kim is a developmental psychologist, a parent-child relationship expert, and a mom of two. She supports families with research-based tips to help them navigate the stress and uncertainty of parent-life and the challenging topics that can arise. 




3 Takeaways from from Dr. Kim on Preventing Sexual Abuse

  1. Have safety talks with your kids about unwanted touching early in your child’s life (as soon as they begin naming their body parts) and often as your child grows up. The key here is to have these conversations often–not just “the talk” one time and assume that you’ve done your duty. The detail of these conversations will change greatly as our children age, but the key is to just start talking.  
  2. Incorporate these safety conversations into your child’s daily routine, like bedtime, bath time, or when leaving the house. Bathtime is a great time to name body parts and to ask your child’s permission before you wash them to show them the importance of consent. This can lead to discussions about who is allowed to touch you and who is not, and be sure to include the people in their lives who they are closest to, including their siblings, grandparents, step parents, and aunts and uncles. No one is allowed to touch you without your consent, and even with your consent, the list is very short of who is allowed to touch you when you are a child. 
  3. Teach your children to trust their instincts and how to identify safe people and places. Hopefully your child would come to you, but if that’s too hard for them, who is another safe adult they could talk to? Talk through a plan with your child for if they find themselves in a situation that is uncomfortable, so they know what to do and who to go to. 


>>>Are these tips from Dr. Kim on preventing sexual abuse helpful? What would you add to the takeaways? Tell us in the comments below.




Get in touch with our Guest! 



  • BetterHelp: This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp. Use the code 3in30 to get 10% off your first month of online therapy!
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Mentioned in the Episode

  • Free, research-based conversation guides available in English and in Spanish at HotChocolateTalk.org

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