Having a child in your care is an exciting experience. You get to watch these wonderful beings finding themselves after going through so much. You get the opportunity to be that helping hand that walks them through the healing process and prepares them for a brighter future.
As the child/young adult is finding their identity, sexuality is one of the major areas to pay attention to. Not just in terms of sexual orientation but in basic boundaries and consent. Especially if the foster child/young adult has encountered sexual violence previously.
Studies have shown that people who have been sexually abused in their childhood struggle with setting boundaries and consent in adulthood which results in what they call ‘Revictimisation.’
This is why basic sexual education is vital for both the kids that have been abused and otherwise. This information is fundamental and they can hold on to it for the rest of their lives. Knowing that they can say no and that some of the things are inappropriate will protect them from being exploited in the future.
All children need sexual education but Sex Ed needs to be age appropriate. There are some things you can tell a young adult but not a child. This is in accordance with their ability to grasp concepts. But the one thing they need to know from an early age is that some of their body parts must not be touched by just anyone and that they should tell someone if those parts have been held and under what circumstances they had been touched.
Most parents like to utilise bath-time to sneak in sex education because the child will be naked. It’s a great time to name the body parts and to tell them that no one should touch those parts…even you. Teach them to wash those parts themselves.
If the foster child/young adult that has been assigned to you has a history of sexual abuse, they may be required to attend counseling or court sessions. In this case, your role is a supportive one to ensure that they make it to all their sessions. Explain to them how the sessions will assist them and why they are important. Getting this help early on will ensure that they don’t malfunction as they get older due to their previous experiences.
If you are uncertain about what to say, you can approach other mothers or teachers that can assist you with sex education. It really does take a village to raise a child and the internet has created a global village of virtual communities and supportive networks that can provide the support and information that you require.
If you are considering fostering or know someone that is please contact us by calling +44 1702 59 77 97 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org