Well, IT’S TIME! If you think it’s too early to talk to your child about it, pause and think again!
While you raise your little prince/princess with the utmost love, care & affection, you cannot be everywhere at any given point in time. As your child starts growing up and learns to become independent, they will interact with others in different social settings.
Let’s face it, child abuse is a silent predator in today’s times. And the worst part is, mostly kids are not even aware of what’s happening to them.
It may come across as quite a task for parents of preschoolers to teach them the difference between a good touch and a bad touch, but the fact remains that it is imperative for the betterment of our young children that they know about all this and can deal with it if they ever come across a situation like this. Here are six ways in which you can do the same:
Start by Telling Children About Their Private Parts
Head, shoulders, knees & toes…..AND MORE!
While we start teaching about the basic body parts like head, eyes, etc to a child as young as 1-year old, we often skip chest, thighs and private parts. Tell them that the body parts we usually keep covered are our private parts and no one has the permission to touch them there. It is never too early to impart sex education to your child, at least at a basic level.
Give them ownership of their body
Empower the child to own his body and give them the freedom to refuse a hug, kiss or pat on the back, even, if they are not comfortable with it. Let the child know that they have all the rights to refuse any inappropriate touch or situation by saying a loud NO. You must, at your end, never force affection on your child- be it your own or somebody else’s. A warm hug from a relative or a peck from a friend must be encouraged only if your child appreciates it and feels comfortable with it.
Use the right language
Usage of words that a child can comprehend is essential. But it is equally important to use the right terms for body parts. Let them know that there is nothing dirty or bad about their bodies and that there is a difference between a female and male body. You may use relevant books or videos to assist you here.
Follow the ‘Swimsuit’ rule
This is the easiest way to imbibe knowledge of good & bad touch in children. Tell them that all parts covered with a swimsuit are private and that nobody can touch them there.
Talk about the feelings
It is important for a child to understand what a safe touch feels like. Mommy’s kiss, daddy’s peck, grandparent’s hug or a teacher’s pat- these all feel pleasant, good and make the child feel loved & confident
However, touches that make the child uncomfortable & unpleasant should be stopped right there.
Again, use some examples to explain to them like, it is a bad touch if you feel hurt, if you do not want to be touched, if someone touches your private parts without a reason, if someone touches you and tells you not to tell anyone.
Motivating the child to confide in you
Spending quality time with your children would not only get you closer to them but also give them assurance that they can share anything with you and you have full faith in them. Be open to all discussions without any inhibitions from your end too. Building a bond of trust with your child is essential, right at a very tender age. Besides this, instill a No Secret rule at home.
However, alerting children is not enough, we also have to teach them what to do if ever face a situation like this. Tell them to follow “Yell-Run-Tell” rule– Scream for help, get away from that place as fast as they can and reach out to a trustworthy person like parents or teacher and tell them everything that happened.
But remember, this is not a ‘One Time Conversation’. Parents should ensure that they have regular discussions/role-play with the kids. Children, being extremely fragile need to be sensitized and equipped so that they are ready to handle any odd situation or person coming their way. And it becomes our responsibility to educate them, equip them so that they are ready to face and handle any odd situation or person coming their way.