Expert: Parents should learn from Penn State scandal

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) A Myrtle Beach counselor is urging parents to learn from the sex abuse scandal unfolding at Penn State University and prepare to protect their children now.

A grand jury indicted former Penn State Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky for allegedly abusing at least 8 young boys.

The allegations paint a picture that sex abuse is a very real issue, and counselors say it's one parents should be discussing with their children.

Many parents say talking about abuse is a hard conversation to have, but they recognize the importance.

Clark says parents can start by telling their children the difference between appropriate and inappropriate contact between adults and children. She also says it's important to make kids understand they can tell parents anything.

She recommends telling children something like this: "If any adult does anything to make you uncomfortable you are to get away from the situation if you can and tell somebody about it," said Clark.

Amy Fitte, a mom in Carolina Forest, says she's already had conversations about abuse with her toddlers.

"We've said it's not OK to be tickled below the waist. Only a mommy and daddy are allowed to wash you," said Fitte.

Clark says adults should not get hung up on what effect reporting abuse can have on them, but put the children first. She says abuse can have lasting and damaging effects.

"It can send the message the child is used goods not worthwhile and they themselves are doomed to a very poor existence. If they're scarred badly enough they may abuse their own children," said Clark.

Copyright 2011 WMBF News. All rights reserved.