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Kimberly King

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Kimberly King is a child-development professional, certified early-childhood educator and speaker. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood development and family studies from University of Maine and a Master of Science degree in early childhood education. She ...

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Boulden Publishing

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12/22/2014 05:38pm
Bubble wrap- Keeping kids safe from sexual abuse


December 22, 2014

By Kimberly King
Author of “I SAID NO!” a kid-to-kid guide to keeping private parts private

As I picked my 5- year -old up at the neighbor’s house I realized that something terribly wrong had happened. My son was exhausted, teary eyed, and literally collapsed in my arms. My son shared with me the story of his night. His friend tried to get him to “do things”, and do things to him. My son knew to tell this child’s mom about the problem. However, the mom just told them to stop “messing around” and go to bed! The other child tried manipulation techniques on my child. “If you do what I want you to do… I will give you $50.00!” He also tried a little peer pressure. “All the really cool kids do this.” Then he said, “If you don’t do this I won’t be your friend.” My son decided he had to figure out how to get away from this situation. He tried to leave the house! But, he could not figure out the dead bolt. He ended up locking himself in a bathroom and told everyone he was sick. He slept on the bathroom floor. This was not an ideal solution. This was his way of keeping himself safe.

Sometimes, no matter how safe you think your friends are…there really is no way to know how other parents will handle these types of situations. It is impossible to know what type of parents they might be behind closed doors. I blamed myself for this night because I left my two children in the care of a good friend. We all have to count on friends to help us care for our children in a pinch.
My choices were limited as I tried to handle an emergency with my new baby with a deployed husband. I assumed my friend would take care of my children in the same manner that I had cared for hers. As a result, my child was traumatized by a very long and unpleasant night. I realized that morning that a sexual abuse attempt had knocked at our door.
I felt so guilty and angry! I was so proud and impressed by my son and the safety plan he developed during that night. He avoided a situation with his creative plan. I was angry with myself because I never told him that this type of thing could happen with a friend. And, I did not explain to him the techniques sexual abusers use to get their victims to cooperate. The books we read didn’t cover that.
As a child development professional, I knew that there was a healthy and normal range of curiosity in regards to sexual development. However, this was more than, “I will show you mine if you show me yours...” This event was not normal because the language and tactics used in the attempts to trick my son were advanced. They seemed to be words of an adult master manipulator.
I didn’t think I needed to explain to my 5 year old what a threat, bribe, blackmail, peer pressure and manipulation were. Sadly, this is the reality! We cannot prevent everything from happening in our world. We can’t roll them up in bubble wrap and keep them in the house. Sometimes, I really wish I could because this would eliminate all of my various panics and trips to the doctor’s office and ER! But we can limit, and possibly prevent, the chances our children will experience something like a very bad sleepover by studying up on this topic with our children. As a parent who has watched other children for friends I follow my own procedures to keep everyone safe.

1. Be Present, pay attention, and intervene when needed.
2. Always keep doors open to supervise play.
3. Float in and out to monitor what is going on during playtime.
4. If a child complains or expresses to you that something is wrong, take the time to find out what is going on and solve the problem.
5. Make sure any kids have privacy for the bathroom and changing needs.

Education and awareness are essential for parents as they attempt to keep their children safe. Please visit the non-profit sexual abuse prevention organization www.d2l.org and read about the 5 Steps for parents on sexual abuse prevention. Read and research!


I Said No! a kid-to-kid guide keeping private parts private

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A sexual abuse prevention book for kids that helps children set healthy boundaries for their private parts. This topic can be a daunting and awkward task for parents, counselors and educators. Written from a kid’s point of view, I Said No! makes this task a lot easier. To help Zack cope with a real-life experience he had with a “friend”, he and his mom wrote a book to help prepare other kids to deal with a range of problematic situations. I Said No! uses kid-friendly language and illustrations to help parents and concerned adults give kids guidance they can understand, practice and use.
Using a simple, direct, decidedly “non-icky” approach that doesn’t dumb down the issues involved, as well as an easy-to-use system to help kids rehearse and remember appropriate responses to help keep them safe. This story was inspired by children and is a wonderful tool for parents as they try to educate their children on the very important topic of sexual abuse prevention. A must have sexual abuse prevention book for all families and professionals who care for children.

Please visit me at www.kimberlykingbooks.com or follow me on twitter @kkbooks
I Said No is for sale at:


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