Talking to your child about good and bad touches


Posted in Growing Up, Learning & Development on Sunday, September 7th, 2014

The recent rise in the number of reported incidents of child sexual abuse makes it compelling for parents and elders to teach the child about good and bad touches.  Since the subject of child sexual abuse is still a taboo in India, most parents find it awkward to talk to their children about sex. However, for the safety of your child, we as parents must create awareness in our children about what is acceptable and what is not.

 

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1. Give your child ownership of their own bodies

From an early stage, teach your child that their body is their own and no one can touch it without their own permission. Empower your child to say no to a touch that they do not like.

 

2. Use correct terminology to describe body anatomy

After the age of 3 years, you can start introducing your child to use the correct terms for body’s anatomy like penis, vagina, nipples etc. However, do not act silly or embarrassed about using this terminology with your children.

 

3. The underwear rule

Explain to your child that the body parts that their underwear covers, is private. These parts should not be touched by others except for their mother or a doctor in presence of a parent and similarly they should not touch others private parts.

 

4. Talk to your child in a helpful, serious yet matter-of-fact manner

Do not be embarrassed to talk to your child about these things, as it will easily show in the way you speak. Be direct, serious and honest in your conversation and encourage your child to ask questions freely.

 

5. Show them a simple presentation

In order for your child to understand what is private to their body, you could show them a vector image of human body where you could point out and show the three regions no one should touch – crotch, buttocks and mouth.

 

6. Tell them the difference between good and bad secrets

Teach the child the difference between good and bad secrets as secrecy is a main tactic of sexual predators. Any secret that makes a child feel sad or anxious (show them a sad smiley or animate your expressions) should be told to someone they trust. The simplest difference between a good secret (a surprise party) and a bad secret is that a good secret will make them happy and excited while a bad secret will make them confused and unhappy.

 

7. Never force affection

Your child may not be comfortable around certain people.  Do not force your child to hug or kiss someone they do not want to. Never force your child to spend time with whom they do not feel comfortable. However, if your child is acting strange around someone, encourage your child to talk about the reason for his or her avoidance of a certain person.

 

Apart from all these ensure that, your child tells you of anyone who gives him or her gifts or spends time with them alone. Communicating with your child daily about what they did the whole day will keep you informed about their lives. In the end, being attentive for your child is the best thing you can do for your child’s safety.

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