Talking to your kids about sex abuse

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Penn State sex abuse scandal has grabbed the attention of people around the country and has prompted many parents to talk to their own children about sexual abuse.

Fernanda Aultman has two girls who are ages seven and four. She plans to talk with them about sex abuse.

"Unfortunately you can't avoid it, you can't control what other people do so my best weapon is to educate my children," said Aultman.

But how do you walk the fine line of educating your children while still protecting their innocence?

"Definitely there's a way that you can have that conversation with younger children in using language obviously that they can understand, " said Tammy Wilborn, a Clinical Program Consultant with Youth Villages, an organization for troubled kids.

She says parents need to distinguish between which touches are okay, and which touches aren't okay.

"Making sure they're clear about the appropriate names for their private parts, making sure they understand that anybody could do this to them," said Wilborn.

Wilborn says it's also important to stress to your child that they won't get in trouble for reporting abuse or inappropriate contact.

Aultman says the conversation may be awkward, but it's worth it.

"It makes me more scared to not have the conversation, than to have it," said Aultman.

Signs of sexual abuse in children include withdrawing, acting out sexual, depression, anxiety, bed wetting and nightmares.