Raising a smart & safe generation
Before I even begin I would like to draw your attention to something which will not even cross your mind. While we talk to our young stars about this topic please keep in mind to use the correct vocabulary. Therefore it’s not Good & Bad Touch but it is Appropriate & Inappropriate Touch. Now you would wonder what difference does that make; well ‘good’ & ‘bad’ are subjective terms so what could be good for you might not be good for me and vice versa. So when we use the terms ‘appropriate’ & ‘inappropriate’ it’s apparent that some things are acceptable while some are absolutely not irrespective of whether you like it or not.
So, moms and dads it is ‘Appropriate & Inappropriate Touch’
There is nothing like too young.
There is no age criteria for abuse, so why should educating them be age related?
The first question that crosses your mind is when is the right time to introduce this concept to our children. Let me answer your this question, when there is no age limit for crime there should be no age limit for educating them.
What you need to begin with……..?
When you are introducing body parts to our little toddlers you talk about everything right from head to toe isn’t it? The head, eyes ears, nose, throat stomach, legs, toes etc etc. But there is one part we choose to conveniently, consciously ignore, not to mention it ever. Now your little one is confused wondering what is this that is not named by my mom, dad or teachers. You have already sowed the seed of curiosity.
Well if the eyes are called eyes and not see see place then why does a penis or vagina called pee pee place. Using the correct names for genitals and other parts of the body will help children understand what is not allowed.
How much your child needs to know?
Well, if your child has a question it needs to be addressed.
- Change the topic.
- Say ‘You don’t need to know this!’
- Ask ‘Where did you learn this from?’
Your body is your own!
- Children should be taught that their body belongs to them and no one can touch it without their permission.
- Children have the right to refuse a kiss or a touch, even from a person they love.
(Reflect: Do we always like our wives or husbands kissing or hugging us, don’t we at times push them off. If we are allowed to express our thoughts why are our children feelings termed as being insensitive or rude)
- If a touch makes them feel uncomfortable they need to SHOUT, MAKE NOISE, TELL SOMEONE!
- Tell children it is not okay if someone looks at or touches their private parts or asks them to look at or touch someone else’s private parts.
( Note: It is termed private part because we don’t show it to anyone, private means not for everyone. Please it is not main part!)
Appropriate & Inappropriate Touch
- Inappropriate Touch isn’t only about being touched by a stranger; it could be a known person as well. It’s about feeling uncomfortable
- A hug from your mom could make you feel happy but an uncle/aunt/teacher/friend/maid hugging you could make you feel uncomfortable
- If children are not sure if a person’s behaviour is acceptable, make sure they know to ask a trusted adult for help.
- When children are abused they feel shame, guilt and fear.
- Avoid creating taboos around sexuality, and make sure children know whom to turn to if they are worried, anxious or sad.
- Be attentive and receptive to their feelings and behaviour. There may be many reasons why a child refuses contact with another adult or with another child. This should be respected.
- Children should always feel that they can talk to their parents about this issue.
- Preventing sexual violence is first and foremost the adult’s responsibility and it is important to avoid putting the entire burden on children’s shoulders.
Don’t allow secrets.
- Since sexual predators use language like, “This is our secret. Don’t tell anyone,” teach your child that there are no secrets from Mom.
- Why do I say only mom is because you must have read and heard about dads, granddads, uncles, aunts, teachers being abusers, though haven’t heard a mom sexually abusing her kid. It’s because her relation duration is 9 months more than any other relation 😀
- “Eliminate the word ‘secret’ from your vocabulary,” “Tell them we don’t do secrets. Instead, use the word ‘surprise’ for those family treats so the child knows that if someone says, ‘You can’t tell Mommy our secret,’ that is something they need to tell.”
Why do i need to speak to my child?
- About one in five children fall victim to some form of sexual abuse and violence.
- It happens to children of every gender, every age, every skin colour, every social class and every religion.
- The perpetrator is often someone the child knows and trusts. The perpetrator can also be a child.
You can help prevent this happening to your child
Good communication with children is the key. It implies openness, determination, straightforwardness and a friendly, non-intimidating atmosphere.
If you find it uncomfortable to talk about this subject with your child, please remember!
It is probably more difficult for you as an adult than it is for a child.
About the Author
Habiba Kudrati is a career and consulting counsellor who has completed a post-graduate diploma in School Counselling and a Masters in Career and Development Counselling. She is currently with JBCN International School in Mumbai, Parel, as a school counsellor. She also has a private practice in Mazgaon and Andheri in Mumbai.
Habiba Kudrati believes that counselling is a process which enables you to empower yourself to deal with situations, emotions and people effectively. The focus is on empowerment and guidance towards self -development & self – sufficiency.
You can connect with her @ Tel:98921 50552 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org