OGDEN, Utah (Good Things Utah) – Having a conversation with your kids about sexual safety can be difficult, but it is so necessary. Assistant professor of criminal justice at Weber State University, McKenzie Wood, PhD, has tips for parents when approaching this sensitive subject. 

Wood says to start teaching kids about their bodies when they are young. Use the proper vocabulary. Each child is different and parents know their kids best, but Wood provides some good age recommendations to discuss certain topics. 

When it comes to setting boundaries, teaching children how to differentiate between “red flag” and “green flag” touches can be very helpful. This signifies parts of the body that should never be touched and ones that can be touched with consent. Wood explained the importance of letting this be an ongoing conversation that evolved and continues as the child gets older, rather than a one-time sit-down discussion. 

Wood warns against using language that places blame on the child. If a child indicates they have been abused, start by believing and supporting them. 

To learn more, get in touch with McKenzie Wood at mckenziewood@weber.edu