Educating children about how to protect themselves against predatory adults may not be enough.
Teens commit roughly one-third of sexual abuse offenses, according to research conducted at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and boys ages 12 to 15 are often implicated in the abuse. Additionally:
- 69% of the incidents occur in someone’s home.
- 12% occur in school.
- Offenders are typically three or four years older than victims.
While you do not want to alarm teenagers, they do need to understand what is and is not OK. As a parent, you can:
- Teach teenagers that they and their partners have the right to change their minds or say “no.”
- Help teenagers define limits in their relationships, and let them know to call you or another trusted adult if those limits are breached.
- Train your teenager to trust his or her instincts about when a relationship or situation feels unsafe.
Finally, teach teenagers how to be good friends and do the right thing in any situation. This helps them learn not only how to avoid unsafe environments but may also help them be alert to friends or classmates in danger.
Your teen’s pediatrician can be a helpful ally in both preventing and spotting unhealthy relationships. We can help you find a pediatrician.