Today, the newspapers, news channels, and other sources of news are filled with indecent reports and stories of rape, sexual abuse, and other heinous crimes. You turn on the TV, and the first thing you get is, “A man raped a teenager,” or “A 6-year-old girl molested by a stranger”. These kinds of news not only shivers the soul, but it also raises an alarm that we need to be more cautious towards our loved ones. I wish this never happens with someone you love and care about, but prevention is better than cure. Who knows the strange guy standing on the corner of the road might be keeping an eye on your little daughter, waiting for his chance to do something terrible to her. Even the thoughts about such happenings move us and drown our souls in empathy. No wonder what will be the future scenario.
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Not trying to scare you, but there might be chances that your little boy or girl might be going through this already, but they don’t know about it. Your kids might be very young to differentiate between good touch and bad touch, or the difference between bad and good intentions. There is a difference between love and lust, we all know that, but our kids don’t know it yet.
Sometimes, even an affectionate kiss on the cheeks of your kid can be done out of bad intentions, or out of lust. Whereas it can be done with a good intention, but we might assume it in a wrong way. The scariest part of the whole thing, the stalker or possible culprits are not just outsiders; the chances are that your kid is being abused by someone you know already. It can be anyone, someone from your family, or someone from your kids' school, or even someone on the school bus.
Moreover, if you assume the above mentioned things happen only with the girl child, or grownup females, you need to open your eyes. The male kids, or grown up men have gone through this too. Lust blinds the assailant, and they hardly consider the gender.
Child abuse does not discriminate based on gender, social standing, ethnicity, or religion. According to the statistics by Ark of hope for children, 40 million children are subjected to abuse each year. And, an approximate of 20% women and 5–10% of men reported about being sexually abused as children, while 25–50% of all children report being physically abused.
After reading all this, if you still ask what is the need to teach your kids about the difference between good and bad touch, no one can help you. With the rising number of incidents of child abuse, the threat is increasing at a rapid pace with every passing day. Now, it’s more than just necessary to aware your kids about the difference between good and bad touch, so they can tell you if they’re being subjected or abused.
Before you begin teaching them how to differentiate, teach them what is good and what is a bad touch. Use the simplest language which can help your kids understand better, no need to be embarrassed while talking about it with your kids.
A good touch is something that doesn’t make a child feel uncomfortable and is healthy for a child: a pat on the shoulder, a friendly hug, and kiss on the forehead, ruffling of hair, and handshakes or high fives.
Anything that makes the child uncomfortable, feel ashamed, painful, or inappropriate in any way: Kissing on the lips or mouth to mouth, patting or rubbing of the upper thigh near the groin area or the buttocks.
Make sure you're explaining these things to your child in a nice, friendly environment.
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Every parent faces this common problem, the difference in age, opinions, thought process, and maturity makes it a little difficult to get along well with the kids. Kids usually feel shy in communicating with their parents as friends and sharing their problems. It is okay if your kid still hesitates to take you as a friend despite your efforts, just remember, it took 22 years to build something as beautiful as Tajmahal. Good things take time, and your kid will do the same. Keep trying to make them feel comfortable, don't let them fear you or do anything that scares them.
Try to induce comfort between you and your child, so he/she shares everything with you. When you achieve this level of comfort with your child, it would be easier for you to initiate a conversation and educate them about what is a good touch and what is a bad touch. We all know it can be a little difficult and embarrassing to talk about these things with your kids, especially when they are too young to understand. Your kids feel the same way, and that's why they hardly share anything with you. Just try and break the ice to make things easier for you. Emphasize on the importance of sharing everything important with parents, and make it a habit.
Okay! It can be a little embarrassing for parents to introduce and educate about sex education to your kids because you grew up with parents who confused sexual education with sex. But, there is a stark difference between sex and sexual education, your parents did the same mistake by assuming both to be the same, please refrain from repeating your parent's mistake.
You might be a nineties kid, and things might have worked differently in your time, but it's the 21st century now, and things work differently here. The children are smart enough to find out about it sooner or later from other sources, and you won't be able to do anything about it. You live in the age of the internet; nothing is impossible to know about if someone is curious. So, it's better to teach about sex education to your kid yourself with some necessary moderation before they take on to other sources to learn it and perceive it in a wrong way. Unless and until you satisfy someone's curiosity, they won't stop. So, teach your kids about the basics of sex education, so they know about it, and can use the knowledge to protect themselves. Stop being shy.
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Informing your kid about their body is the first thing in the process of awarding them about good and bad touch. Give your kid the ownership of their body, tell them as early as possible, about the anatomy of their body.
You need to tell them that their body is their private property amidst the soft talk that you already do, and nobody is allowed to touch them, not even their parents unless they allow.
Sometimes it might be a little confusing to find out the right way to spill the beans about good and bad touch to your children. They will always ask questions like why? and how? which might be a little uncomfortable to answer. So, try to find out how to go about talking to your children. Some kids like logic, and if you spill the beans using logic, they might follow what you're trying to teach.
The swimsuit or undie (refers to underwear) rule can be a good method to help your kids understand a good and a bad touch. Tell them that the parts covered by a swimsuit or underwear are private parts, it’s a private area and that no one should be seeing or touching that area. Tell them that the same rule applies even to parents, if kids are not comfortable with their parents touching the areas, protest. Encourage your kids to share any incident which included someone trying to touch their private parts in past, present, and if someone tries that in future.
While trying to elaborate on good touch and bad touch, the common slangs used for body parts can be a little embarrassing for your kids to use while trying to report or share any incident. Or for you while trying to teach them about the anatomy of their body. Use correct scientific names of the body parts while trying to explain them about their body. Let them know that there is nothing dirty or bad about their bodies and that there is a difference between a female and male body
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There is something called bad touch, and something called safe touch which might feel like a bad touch. So, it's important for you to teach your kids and help them understand the situations in which the two are different. When a child’s mother, father or the doctor touch them while it's necessary, they do so only to ensure that their bodies are safe. If you have been teaching your child about good and bad touch, they might refuse to let you touch their private parts even when it's necessary. This is okay if your kid is doing so. So, enlighten them of the situations where it is okay for a doctor, the mother, and the father to touch their private parts, and the situations when it's not.
Tell them that nobody other than these three individuals can touch them, or ask them to lift their garments to examine them.
Affection is something which is Okay, but only when it is necessary no matter how close you're to your kids. Parents must refrain from forcing their affection on their child, whenever possible. A warm hug from a distant relative to you, or a peck from a school friend must be encouraged only if your child is comfortable with it and he/she appreciates it.
So, if your child is showing respect or gratitude to a distant relative in a different way, it’s okay, don’t force them or criticize them.
Sometimes, it is difficult to understand for the child when you're only using words to teach the subject. You might need an example to help them understand, and role play can be a good way to do so. Many experts suggest practicing situations with your child when they might be getting molested, and what should they say or do in such situation.
Use video content or platforms like YouTube for help. There are already many videos on the issue available on Youtube which can be really helpful. Also, there are many school plays which raise the topics, and you should be taking your child to watch these.
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First, teach your children to forgive themselves if anything like this has happened with them already. Tell them it's not their fault, and not to lose their self-confidence because of this. Secondly, teach them to refuse, to say NO. Tell them that they can and must say NO.
Your child might be uncertain about following your advice, but keep assuring them that there is no shame in asking a grown-up to stop or call them out loud and clear. Tell them what to do in situations when they feel vulnerable and how screaming and attracting the attention of others can put them in a safe spot.
As parents, we need to sensitize our kids regarding ‘good touch, bad touch.' It can be a little uncomfortable, yet we need to shed out our reluctance and hesitancy while speaking to our children. In addition to speaking, parents also need to keep an eye on their children and watch out for those who are close to their child and raise the alarm if they feel something is fishy.
We hope you liked the article. Let us know how you feel about the issue, and if you have taught your kid already about good and bad touch. Share anything and everything that can help people in protecting their children. Use the comment section and pour it all out. Don’t hesitate, it’s not about just your child anymore.
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