School counselors hand down tips on discussing sexual harassment - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

School counselors hand down tips on discussing sexual harassment with kids

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
CLINTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Initiating a conversation with your child about sexual harassment or sexual assault can be difficult for many parents but guidance counselors at Clinton High School say one of the most important things adults can do is be as conversational as possible.

“I think it’s important to talk about consent,” said Sarah Dill, guidance counselor at Clinton High School. “I think it’s important for parents to be open to listening to children whenever they have a problem so that they do feel comfortable building that relationship.”

Clinton High School Guidance Counselor Dana Wright suggests starting these talks with children at a young age to help define good touches and bad touches and set boundaries both the parents and child understand.

 “As they grow up and enter puberty, they can recognize okay this is beginning to cross that boundary, this is starting to make me feel uncomfortable, I recall my parents having this conversation," said  Wright. “Starting those conversations at a young age allows students and kids to think this is a normal talk for you and I, this is not uncomfortable for me to come to you and say I have something I need to tell you but I don’t even have the words to use.”

Dill suggests using open-ended questions such as:

  • Tell me about your day?
  • Did anything exciting happen?
  • Did anything scary happen?

Dill and Wright say it’s important for children to choose a trusted adult to open up to, even if it’s not a parent.

“I think it’s important to have more than just one person to go to because you don’t know what kind of relationship someone has with their parents or their teachers and we want them all to be appropriate and loving and caring and supportive but in a situation where that may not be the case, as a department, we try really hard to be non-judgmental and make sure everyone feels accepted,” said Dill. “We try to have a variety of tools they can use so that if they are having a hard time saying the words out loud and then something is disclosed, we can work with them to communicate that to their parents and encourage them to do that themselves so that they can strengthen that parent/child relationship and we can be there as a supportive person to help with that communication.”

Dill and wright say there are also non-verbal ways a child can communicate a major change in their life such as becoming very withdrawn, getting lower grades in school or showing an increased focus on a subject they use to have little interest in.

Wright said it’s vital for children to feel like they have an advocate fighting for them and that is willing to work to them the help they need. 

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