A Message from Karen about Healthy Boundaries and Behaviors for Children
Guest post by: Karen Rush, Children’s Center Executive Director
Summer can be a magical time in childhood! School is out, and the long days make for lots more free time, new opportunities for fun, and days spent playing with family and friends.
As I sat down to write to you, I recalled many happy memories of playing in the sprinkler, spending long days reading books, meeting new friends at camp, having sleepovers, and eating popsicles as fast as I could so that they wouldn’t melt all over!
Although summer has so many fun moments for children, it can also be a time of increased independence and exposure to new peers and environments. With less adult supervision and structure, children may find themselves in situations where they are not sure of the right thing to do to help keep themselves and others safe.
As adults, we do a great job teaching children to be aware of when adults are making them uncomfortable. However, we often forget to talk about what to do when other children are engaging in unsafe behaviors, such as unwanted touch, texts, conversations, or language. In fact, even adults find it difficult to know what is, or is not, developmentally appropriate exploratory play, as opposed to what is known as a problematic sexual behavior.
Children’s Center staff work with other professionals in our community to provide education and outreach to our community about problematic sexual behavior of children who are 11 and under. We have a team, Healthy Boundaries and Behaviors (HBB), that engages with parents, teachers, and other caring adults to help them understand problematic sexual behaviors and how to approach them in a way that is supportive while also keeping children safe.
Please like or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. We will post a number of helpful resources throughout the remainder of July. Our blogs will also provide information on internet safety and how to better understand and respond to an incident of problematic sexual behavior.
Remember, we are always here to help! If you have concerns that your child, or a child you know, is engaging in problematic sexual behavior, please feel free to contact us at 503-655-7725 for additional support. Our staff is passionate about working together with parents/caregivers and the community to make sure that all children feel safe, valued, and heard.