Talking to Kids About the Sandusky Trial

The news coverage of the child sexual abuse case involving Jerry Sandusky and Penn State is a great door-opener for parents and caregivers to talk with kids about sexual abuse. If your child or teen has seen some of the news coverage, it can be an opportunity to gently ask your child how much they know about sexual abuse. Asking questions in a conversational and genuine way can help you know where the gaps are in your child’s understanding and knowledge. It will also give you an opportunity to clear up any misinformation. Of course, don’t bombard or interrogate, but try opening some dialogue with any of the following questions that feel right to you. And then, let the child or teen be your guide. Just be sure to be careful of your tone. This is a conversation for mutual learning, not an interrogation. Just one or two may be all you need for a robust conversation! Also, visit Tips for Talking to Children to help you fill in the gaps. What do you know about child sexual abuse? (or some version of this question that works for your child) – fill in the gaps. How do you feel on behalf of the kids who were abused? How do you feel about the adults who covered it up? What do you think they should have done? Do you think all this news coverage is important? What would you do if you thought one of your friends was being abused? How can kids help other kids who are being bullied or abused? (tell an adult who can help) Do you know of anything like this happening at your school? Is there anything else you want to talk with me about? -Or- Do you have any questions you want to ask me?

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