In India, sex education is not a very comfortable topic of conversation. Most parents never have the important discussion with their children, and kids are often left to find out information on their own. This can be quite risky because children may find information through unreliable sources. It may be misleading, half-baked or sometimes downright wrong data that can build an unhealthy attitude towards sex.
Lack of knowledge or awareness about concepts such as good and bad touch can also lead to much graver problems. With increasing stories on the news about child sex abuse cases, parents need to be prepared and ready their child with all the information needed to safeguard themselves against perpetrators.
A common misconception is that abusers are always strangers. The truth in fact is that 70% of reported cases involve abusers who are related to the child and are a part of the extended family. With shocking statistics like this, we need to do our best to educate and prepare our young ones to stay safe and feel free to open up about abuse.
Often, in our society, it becomes difficult for parents to talk to their children as such discussions are considered to be taboo. But parents need to break down the barriers and broach the subject with care. Here are a few helpful tips on how to have the ‘good touch – bad touch’ conversation with children.
1. Teach Them About Ownership Of Their Bodies
Let your children know that they are the bosses of their own bodies. They have the right to decide who can and cannot touch them. Teach them about the private parts of their body and how they can say ‘No’ if someone tries to touch them without consent. Start having this conversation when they are 3.5 to 4 years old and indicate that they alone are in ownership of their body and about parts that are private. A simple way to say this, “the parts covered by a swimsuit are private and you should not allow anyone to touch them unless they are doing it for your health or safety, like doctors or parents.”
2. Use The Correct Words
When talking about sex or private parts to your child, don’t shy away from using the correct words. Educate them about their anatomy and appropriate terminology and remove any stigma around the usage. In case they need to share anything with you, it will make them more comfortable and assured about what they want to say.
3. Talk About Types Of Touch
Explain to children that there are 3 kinds of touch –
- Safe touch: touch that involves a child’s safety or an act of making them feel safe such as hugging, pat on the back, a doctors touch during checkups etc. Safe touch may hurt sometimes (in case of treating an injury) but are meant to keep the child safe and healthy.
- Unsafe touch: this is the touch that cause harm or pain to the child such as hitting, pinching, pushing, kicking etc. Let your children know that such touch is not acceptable.
- Unwanted touch/bad touch: this is the kind of touch that a child doesn’t want at a particular moment. Even if it is familiar person, sometimes children are intuitive and do not want to feel their touch. In such cases teach them that it is okay to say no.
4. Empower Them To Communicate
Whether it means saying ‘no’ to unwanted touch or sharing an incident that made them uncomfortable, make sure that the communication channels remain open. In the event of any unfortunate incident, ensure that your children feel confident about being able to talk to you openly. Let them know that they can speak their mind freely and can also say ‘no’ in the event that a person or their touch makes them uncomfortable even if it is a relative.
5. Agree To Specific Rules
Teach your children certain rules regarding touch and physical behaviour. Rules can be along the lines of:
- It is not okay for someone to touch your private parts, nor is it okay for them to ask you to touch their private parts
- It is not okay for someone to touch his or her own private parts in front of you
- It is not okay for someone to ask to see you without your clothes on or take such pictures
- You can decide whom you will allow to touch, hug, or kiss you
It is very important that there are open channels of communication between parents and their children right from the early stages. Do not hesitate to have the necessary conversations to help you keep your child safe and well. While it is an uncomfortable subject, it is a very important one too. Taking the small steps towards an open discussion can greatly help to address the problem and eliminate it.
Schoolkart is an online platform dedicated to all student needs. Schoolkart is dedicated to ensuring that children receive the best care in their day to day life through all the necessary products as well as information needed for a child’s holistic development. From school uniforms, sporting goods, stationary to books, you can find everything at this one stop shop.
As a propagator of overall child development, Schoolkart urges parents to break the ice with your children from the very beginning and create open channels of communication. This will ensure their lack of hesitation to share and discuss everything with you.