Child Abuse or sexual assault against children is a hardcore reality, yet many parents find it hard to put it across to their children. More than informing your children about the ‘Good Touch and Bad Touch’ concept, it is always better to instill a safe body boundary around your children and raise them to stay self-protected in their life.
You can follow the below listed strategies to educate your children on the Good Touch and the Bad Touch concept:
Good Touch or the Safe Touch
First tell your children the difference between the Good Touch and the Bad Touch. Tell your child that a Safe Touch or a Good Touch is something that makes them feel warm and happy inside. You can exemplify the concept by giving them real life situations such as:
- When you mum gives you warm hug and a kiss to wake you up in the morning
- When your dad hugs you for winning a prize or when your dad tucks you in bed and kisses you goodnight.
- When your grandmother seats you in her lap to tell you stories
- When your grandfather holds your hand and takes you for long walks in the park.
- When you hold your friends hand while playing.
On the whole a Safe Touch is something that makes you feel secure and cared.
Bad Touch or the Unsafe Touch
Tell your children that a touch that makes them feel uncomfortable or unpleasant is referred to as a Bad Touch or an Unsafe Touch. You can give examples and also demonstrate to help them understand the concept better:
- First teach the child the names of the body parts and explain to them about the private body parts. Tell them that the private parts of the body need to be kept covered. No one should see your private parts or you should not see anyone else’s private parts. You should not allow anyone to show you the pictures of the private parts or talk about them. If this happens make sure you tell someone in your “Safety Network”.
- Let the child know that it is inappropriate to let anyone touch their private body parts except by a healthcare professional.
- Train your child to use the word ‘No’ and let the child know that they are allowed to refuse a person’s touch or hug if it makes them feel uncomfortable. Encourage your child to give a stern ‘No’ if anyone touches their lips, chest, between your legs or buttocks.
- Educate your child to form a ‘Safety Network’ which comprises of people whom they can run to in case they face any problems. Usually the ‘Safety Network’ should have your Father, Mother, Grandmother, brother/sister etc.
- Tell your child to follow three simple rules- Get Away, Shout and Run. If your child feels he or she is in danger or if they feel uncomfortable in any situation then they are allowed to Get Away, Shout and Run to get help from someone in their “Safety Network”.
- Talk to them about ‘Secrets’- Usually perpetrators or strangers with wrong intentions will use the tactic of ‘Secrets’ to manipulate the children and to lure them into awkward uncomfortable situations. Educate your child to be bold, open and to never hide it from his or her parents. The children should also be trained to openly tell if they see someone else touching another child also.
- Listen to your kids- When your child approaches you with something important take time to listen to them. Give them unconditional attention and make them feel mentally and physically secure. This will encourage them to come to your whenever in need.
It is also important to talk about topics related to safety and sexual assault to your kids. You can initiate conversations based on these subjects by following the below listed:
- Take the help of the media- Ask your teenage daughter or son about the current happenings on the social media or the news (Something related to the sexual assault or abuse related topics), or you could sit with your child and watch an episode and then further ask the child about their opinion or how they would handle a similar situation. Initiate conversations like these to know their point of views and opinions.
- Use own experiences or the experience of someone you know- You can share experiences from your life or if you are not comfortable sharing your story, then you can also educate your children using the story or life experience of someone you know.
- Have a direct conversation- Some children may not perceive the concept in the right way because of their prejudiced opinions and misconceptions they have picked up from their peers. This is the time you take out the real life statistics to inform your kids that more than 90% of the child abusers or assaulters are familiar people. Also explain that no one looks like a “rapist” and that eight out of ten incidents are committed by known people.
Never procrastinate when it comes to talking to your children about sexual assault or child abuse topics. It is always better to give these first hand information before the kids enter into the big bad world.