Have the Hot Chocolate Talk
Prevent Child Sexual Abuse

The Talk Every Parent Needs to Have

Committee for Children’s long-standing history of protecting children from sexual abuse is the origin and soul of our nearly 40-year-old organization. Our goal for this site is to help families know what to say and do to protect kids from predators. In fact, research shows that talking to your kids about sexual abuse, touching, and private body parts can help keep them safe. We understand that child sexual abuse is scary, but talking about it shouldn’t be, so we’re giving you some tips for beginning the conversation, along with strategies and resources to use if your child brings it up.

Starting the Conversation

It’s completely normal to feel uncomfortable, but you can start by weaving these messages into your everyday interactions: at bath time, over meals, or driving to an outing. Or, take your child out for a special treat and some one-on-one time. Find the way that feels right for you.

Download our conversation guide to use when talking to your kids about sexual abuse.

What Is the Hot Chocolate Talk?

To help you to get the conversation going, Committee for Children is encouraging you to make the time for a Hot Chocolate Talk. It’s a chance to sit down over a nice cup of cocoa and discuss these difficult issues in a warm, caring atmosphere. Normalizing the conversation draws the issue out of the shadows.

To get started, take the pledge to have a Hot Chocolate Talk with your kids, then download our printable conversation guide which contains conversation starters and talking tips.

Making Your Talk Age-Appropriate

What to Do If Your Child Tells You

Handling the Conversation

If your child does disclose, reassure them that telling was the right thing to do. Be as warm and caring as you can; avoid expressing anger or blame.

Stay matter of fact and objective, repeating what they say and asking open-ended questions. Don’t insist on precise details, numbers, days, or times. Most importantly, let them know you believe them, you will help them, and that it won’t happen again.

What to Say Right Away

“Thank you for telling me. It was the right thing to do.”

“Tell me what happened,” then repeat what they say. Gently ask open-ended questions like, “What happened next?”

“I believe you. I will help you. And I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

If You’re Too Upset to Listen

Revisit the conversation once you’ve calmed down, saying something like “Remember what you told me about Uncle John touching your private parts? Can we talk about it again?” Then follow the same guidelines outlined here.