Sexual harassment is something that should never occur, but we live in a flawed world where people sometimes do things they shouldn’t do. Unfortunately, you don’t have any control over whether or not your teen will be subjected to sexual harassment. The cold, hard truth is that the older they get, the better the chances that they will be exposed to it on some level. Your role as a parent is to make sure that you do everything possible to prepare your teen for dealing with this and other, similar challenges. You probably already know that this is easier said than done.
What should you tell your teen about sexual harassment? Sadly, you must tell them that they should be aware of its existence, and in some cases, even expect it. You also have to find a way to help them cope with it in a healthy manner and empower them to refuse to take it. This can be difficult, as it is sometimes easier to take bullying than it is to stand up to it. Sexual harassment is one of the most damaging forms of bullying. However, that doesn’t mean that it will be easy for your teen to stand up to it, or to those who do it. In fact, it just might be one of the most difficult things they will ever do.
You can teach them how to value who they are and demand respect. Teach them what types of behavior are acceptable and how to recognize behavior that isn’t so they can start working toward a solution right away. Whether someone is touching them when they don’t want to be touched or they are making lewd comments about them, it is sexual harassment. People get away with it every single day. Therefore, it is imperative that you teach your teen not to put up with it in any capacity and not to do it to anyone else.