Talking to Children About Sexual Abuse & Speaking Out

I'm a firm believer that once the genie is out of the bottle, you have to deal with him. So I wanted to pose a question to parents: In the wake of the Penn State scandal, what are you telling your children about sexual abuse? Also, at what age should you begin talking to children about private parts and improper behavior? It's not an easy question to answer, even for my family. Experts have their opinions, but I would love to hear what everyday parents have to say.

My little one is 5-years-old. We want to let him know that he is in charge of his body and that if something doesn't seem right, he is empowered to trust his instincts and let us know about it right away. But, as I've been told several times over the years, we allow our son a lot more freedom of expression than African-American households are known for. I don't know if that sentiment is actually true, but I know that parents can't wait until something happens to tell children they are free to talk to you about any and everything - they just won't believe you. In my experience, allowing him to own his feelings and opinions now helps us keep the lines of communication open down the road. What do you think? Were you allowed to express yourself with your parents when you were a child? Did you feel you could tell your parents anything at all? Let me know in comments!
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