Is your child aware about the difference between good touch and bad touch? Have you tried explaining it to them?
I know this is a really tough subject to talk about.
But let’s face it.
In today’s world where we come across news on child abuse and molestation every other day, it’s essential that we empower our children with the right knowledge before it’s too late.
We need to create opportunities to talk to our children about what a good touch is and what is not.
Take a look at how Meeta made her little one understand the difference between the two.
Meeta and her four-year-old were playing hide-and-seek. Every time Meeta found her daughter, she was awarded a hug.
During the break she asked her little one, “Do you like that?” and then explained that a hug from mamma is good touch – which is why it feels so good.
Meeta created an opportunity to talk to her child and explained it in a simple way that the child could relate to.
Watch this educational video by Vidya Ragu, psychologist, learning & development specialist who shares more ideas on how to educate children on sexual abuse:
We also have some simple tips that you can try at home to educate your child starting Today!
5 sure-fire ways to teach your child about good touch & bad touch:
1) Avoid the ‘pee-pee’ ‘poo-poo’ talk!
“We don’t live in the Elizabethan age you see!”
My son’s paediatrician said when I approached him about the topic I was writing about. What I understood about his unique perspective was that parents don’t give children the credit of being smart enough.
Kids as young as two years of age understand that certain body parts are private. We should tell them the same. Parents can avoid the mushy ‘this is a pee-pee’ talk sometimes and tell them the importance of their body parts.
Your body is your property!
“You need to tell them that their body is their private property amidst the soft talk that you already do,” the doctor explained.
He believed that this way, by the time they turn four-to-five, children are aware of each body part, their functions, and the fact that its private property that they need to safeguard!
“Don’t worry, they won’t get scared!” added the doctor.
However, you also need to make sure that you teach your child that they are also not allowed to touch anyone else without the other person’s consent as it is equally important to be good as it is to be protective.
Now let’s dive into the next point.
2) Talk easy
Well, we just discussed that parents should reduce the mushy talk and sometimes discuss the facts. But now, I’m telling you the opposite.
Talking facts with children and talking as if they are in an official business meeting are two different things. The first is advice and the latter, they will not understand.
Giving the child looks that say, “Come here, I have a do or die situation that I want to discuss with you,” makes the entire conversation inherently serious.
“Take it easy. Also, try to let these conversations happen naturally, like during playtime or dinner table,” says Dhriti, a Mumbai-based school co-ordinator. I’m sure you agree!
3) What does your undie cover?
“We have an undergarment rule,” says Jitesh.
Over weekends, it’s Jitesh’s duty to brush, bathe, and feed his five-year-old.
“I tell my son that every part that his undergarments cover are those that nobody is allowed to touch. Not even me. This is our undergarment rule,” he adds.
If we know how to go about talking to our children, this point gives us an example of what to actually say.
“My son likes logic and that’s why he likes this rule. Most importantly, now he knows good touch and bad touch from the perspective of his body parts,” concludes Jitesh.
Could he ask for more?
4) Shout! Shout! Shout!
“We keep telling children to be polite, talk softly, and be well mannered especially around strangers. But I teach them to shout!”
This is Dr. Upasana, a well-renowned child psychologist who is sitting across the table and enlightening me as to how to make my child mannerless!
Seeing the look on my face she laughs and asks me not to worry (worrying should officially be made the synonym for parenting!)
Polite or safe?
Dr Upasana tells me that there is a difference between being polite and being polite amidst strangers who give you odd vibes. When children are given permission to be rude to strangers, they gain confidence.
If kids are rude to someone, they should be encouraged to share the reason why they were impolite, but should not be abruptly stopped.
“I listen to my son and accept his reason, if he has one because I respect his gut feeling,” adds Dr. Upasana.
Her son understands that he has permission to be rude when someone is not treating him right. Therefore he is not scared of making a hue and cry around someone who he seems uncomfortable with.
“Letting them off the ‘good manners‘ hook makes demonstrating this discomfort easy,” concludes the child psychologist.
Meanwhile, we must also teach them to say no. Children need to know that it’s okay to say no, and when to say it.
5) Touching is a thing of the past
Uncle Sameer is visiting and Nina says namaste from a distance. Granny Laxmi says, “Touch your uncle’s feet, Nina. Give him a hug!” Nina looks at her mom and then sits next to her granny, whispers, “No naani, it’s not necessary. Mamma said.”
“Don’t force children to hug or touch feet. Not doing that does not make them rude. It just avoids unnecessary touch,” explains Nina’s mom.
Nina and her daughter have made certain rules together. Nina believes that she is a ‘cool’ girl at six and flying kisses or sitting on anyone’s lap is ‘uncool.’ She should carry her ‘cool’ body around with confidence and tell mamma whatever she feels.
Hats off to Nina’s mom for adding the ‘cool’ quotient to the very serious topic of good touch bad touch.
Well, now I know how and what to tell my son. Do you?
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