Teaching your child about good touch and bad touch is inevitable in today’s unpredictable and highly risky social environment. The increasing number of cases of child molestation are a matter of concern to parents. Of course, precaution is better than cure. Who can be a better person to sensitise your child about this so-called ‘uncomfortable’ yet highly important topic?
Find out when and how you can introduce good touch and bad touch to your child-
When is the right time to educate your child about good touch and bad touch?
Well, the sooner the better. When your child is introduced to the outside world say at the age of 3 years (when a child is normally placed in a playschool) some basics about good touch and bad touch should be clear, though they may not understand every bit of it at this age. Experts say that a child can be taught about it as early as 2 years of age when they can start identifying the parts of their body. By the age of 5 years, the child should be able to understand good touch and bad touch in a comprehensive manner.
Understanding good touch and bad touch
What is a good touch?
To be hugged and kissed by the people you love is a nice feeling and is required for the emotional development of kids and a feeling of well being.
This is how you can explain it to your child-
- When Mommy or Daddy gives you a hug and kiss after you wake up, do you feel good about it?
- When Daddy and Mommy give you a good-night hug and kiss, how do you feel?
- When Grandma and Grandpa come to visit and everyone gets hugs and kisses, isn’t it a nice feeling?
- Your teacher gives you a pat on your back for doing good in class, you are playing with your friends and you are hugged for winning the game, does it make you uncomfortable? If it does not, it is a good touch.
What is a bad touch?
Any kind of touch that makes one feel uncomfortable is usually a bad touch.
This is how you can explain it to your child
- If the touch hurts you, it is a bad touch.
- If someone touches you on your body where you don’t want to be touched, it is a bad touch.
- If the person touches you under your clothing or tickles you under the clothing, it is definitely a bad touch. It is a bad touch if a person touches you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- If the touch makes you feel scared and nervous especially when you are alone(not at the doctors with your parent), it is a bad touch.
- If a person forces you to touch him or her, it is a bad touch.
- If a person asks you not to tell anyone about the touch, it is a bad touch.
- If a person threatens to hurt you if you tell about the touch, it is a bad touch.
Tips to teach about good touch and bad touch to your child
Let your kids know their body parts well
Help your child to know the parts of his/her body well, stating which body parts are private parts and should not be touched by others. Avoid using baby language like ‘pee-pee’, ‘poo-poo’ to talk about private parts even to your toddlers. Most toddlers and young children can identify the parts of their body by the age of two. Explain the anatomy of the body to your school-age children without being embarrassed and making them feel embarrassed. Use the swimsuit rule to make the concept clearer, like say the parts of the body which are covered when wearing a swimsuit are private parts and should not be seen and touched by others.
Tell your kids that they own their body
Let your kids understand the concept of ownership of their body i.e. nobody can touch their body if they don’t want them to. They can say no to hugs and kisses as well if they don’t like it, even if it makes you feel bad. Never force your child to hug guests if they don’t want to. Make sure you respect their private space else they won’t understand the importance of it.
Bond with your child
If you want your kids to talk about their secrets and confusions regarding their body or untoward incidents, spend enough time with them and talk to them openly. Remember, you are the safest person that they can share their fears and inhibitions with. A feeling of trust and acceptance will make your child feel comfortable discussing such topics with you. Tell your kids to never keep a secret when someone gives them a bad touch. Make them understand that the person who touched in the wrong way is bad, not them.
Teach them to speak up
Teach them to say a loud ‘NO’ or shout for help to gather the attention of people around them. Its always safer to approach a group of people rather than a single individual in such circumstances. Permit your child to be ‘rude’ to strangers and shout loudly if they don’t feel comfortable. Are you surprised by this statement? Well, it is better to be safe than polite and vulnerable. If your child is rude to strangers do not abruptly stop him/her. Ask the reason for doing so. Maybe your child is right in doing so.
Let your kids know their safe circle
The safe circle is the people who your child can trust and confide with. It may include Mommy, Daddy, Grandpa, Granny, Sibling etc. Teach your kids to talk openly or seek help from people in their safe circle. This will help your kids know whom to talk to when you are not around. For toddlers and preschoolers, stick photos of people who belong to your child’s safe circle on cardboard to help them remember what a safe circle is.
When you spend time with your kids, make time to role-play various situations of good touch and bad touch and show your child how to react and be vigilant to bad situations. Small children remember role plays well and they can use the simulation in a real-life situation. Teach your children how to say NO confidently and loudly. Say it for them like (NO, I DON’T LIKE THAT!STOP) and make them practice it.
Read books on good touch and bad touch
Children remember stories well and relate them to real-life situations. Begin with books that teach about body parts. Then you can read children’s books on sex education (for older kids). I have listed some books that you may find on Amazon. Click on the affiliate link (picture) to go straight to the link…
Show them videos explaining the good and bad touch
Children learn better in an audiovisual form. Make use of age-appropriate educational videos.
Though we cannot be with our children wherever they go, it is essential to teach them life skills which will give us no regrets as parents. Be there for your children. Trust them, belief in their stories. Maybe they have something important to tell you……………..
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