We all want our kids to be safe from sexual harassment or abuse. But have you ever, as a parent, thought of telling your kid stories? Well, most of the parents do. But, many of you haven’t thought of telling a unique story to your kid having the hidden lesson to teach your kid about bad touch. Yes, many of you may have never come across this thought.
You take your kid to a park or some picnic area and try to create a scenario. You ask them if they see a child teasing a butterfly, a naughty kid is touching the turtle, or a person is hitting a puppy with a stick. So, what will be the response of these creatures if anyone irritates or teases them for nothing?
Your kid is closest to you at multiple times during the day. When you take your kid to bed for sleeping, or a bath or to play in the sun, it is the best time to talk to your child as they listen to you intently. So, be comfortable and start telling him about the good and bad touch. Tell them that the right touch is the one which is given by people who love and care for them. A nice touch always feels warmer and lovely in comparison to some other contacts that can make them alert or conscious.
SAFETY CIRCLE AND YOUR KID
Tell your kid that the people who can love, kiss, hug, and care for them are the ones who come in their safety circle. The safety circle includes mum, dad, grandma, grandpa, teacher, and doctor. They can kiss, give a hug, do a high five, and pat them. These gestures will make kids comfortable and happy.
HOW TO TEACH YOUR KID ABOUT BAD TOUCH?
The touch that will make your kid feel troubled or uncomfortable is the bad touch. If your kid thinks that a person is a stranger or not from their safety network, they will get alert if anything fishy like a wrong gesture or bad touch happens. So, when you have to teach your kid about bad touch, tell them how to maintain good contact and communication with the people of their safety circle.
THE OWNERSHIP OF YOUR BODY
Meanwhile, you need to learn about some scientific facts about your child. At the age of 13-15 months of life, your kid develops the ‘the body part game’ skills. He knows what part of his body is the nose and what parts are the ears if you have made him learn such skills through your parenting efforts.
When he gets to the age of 18 months or more, he begins to develop ‘owning of his body’ skills. At this age, it is the best time to tell him about the ”private parts” of his body – the essential part of teaching your kid about the bad touch process.
Now as he ages between 2 and 3.5 years, he is likely to adopt a personal concept that ”his body belongs to him only.” And he has some private parts not to be ‘touched or seen’ by anyone in any way. Your goal is near now.
WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO TEACH YOUR KID ABOUT BAD TOUCH?
Although children are most prone to getting sexually abused between the age of 7 to 13 years, we cannot just limit the chances. The abusers or the perpetrators of sexual harassment sometimes target even the toddlers or younger babies, and likewise, in children older than 13. So, you never know. Therefore, experts suggest that you begin to teach your kid about bad touch once he or she starts understanding your words.
And again, it will be an assumption to believe that only male perpetrators are likely to abuse female children. It can also be the other way round; female perpetrators trying to sexually exploit male babies. So teach both your sons or daughters equally about the importance of good or bad touch. Because, the safer, the better.
TEACHING YOUR KID ABOUT PRIVATE PARTS
When you decide to teach your kid about bad touch, or the difference between the good and bad touch, it is crucial to guide him about the parts of the body under covers. Tell him that the parts that are generally not seen or under wraps while swimming; are private parts of our body (chest, inner legs, buttocks – can be the lips or face as well). These individual parts should not be touched unnecessarily by anyone and in any case.
WHO, WHEN, AND HOW?
It is an important thing to make your kid understand the point that who can touch them – their mum, dad, grandma, or grandpa. Their teachers can pat, have a high five, or can give them a light hug, and their doctor can examine them in front of his parents. Mums and dads can give a bath.
Also, parents and grandparents can show signs of love by caring, kissing, and hugging them. But, slapping on any kids face and pinching their cheeks is not a sign of respect.
Now as you have counseled your kid about the safety levels regarding bad touch. Your child will tell you that a butterfly if teased, will fly away, and a turtle will go into the protective shell. If someone hits the puppy with a stick, it will bark. That’s how living beings behave when they are teased unnecessarily.
Your kid says that this is something called an unnecessary touch that makes these creatures, uncomfortable. The next step is effortless. You need to make him follow the easy rules if he gets an unnecessary touch or a bad touch. Try teaching him the following:
- LEARN to say ”NO” or “I don’t like this” – use my voice for my body
- RUN away as fast from that person as I can
- SHOUT out loudly where ever I am
- INFORM the people of my safety circle as soon as possible
- KEEP no secrets from parents. Narrate each and everything happened to me.
WARNING SIGNS FOR YOUR KID
You can teach your kid about bad touch in other ways as well; by identifying the red flag like
“If I am unsafe or feel wrong about something, my body lets me know.”
“My hair starts to grow on their ends, or I get goosebumps.”
“I feel shaky, or my palms are sweaty.”
“My heart starts beating fast.”
“I feel wobbly legs and need to go to the toilet.”
“My tummy feels sick.”
“I feel crying.”
These statements from your kid can make you think that something is getting fishy, and you need to take them into confidence.
Also Read: How To Be A Good Mom?
DO’s AND DON’Ts FOR PARENTS
A bad touch from a person your kid is not familiar with can lead to severe molestation or episodes of child abuse. You need to follow some basic principles to teach your kid about bad touch and good touch.
Don’t force your kid to hug, kiss, or greet anyone if your child is not feeling okay too. Help your child to trust themselves and then you.
Just believe if your kid tries to say something that is bothering him. They never lie about something wrong.
Do not be too strict or frank with your kid while discussing the whole matter of bad touch.
Teach your kid about bad touch to the best of your efforts as it is quite prevalent nowadays.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is bad touch and how can you teach your child to recognize it?
Before going into how to teach your kid about bad touch, we must also sufficiently explain the term ‘good touch’
A ‘good touch’ is physical contact by another person that would make your child feel good and comfortable. A hug by a working parent when they return home, soothing by hugging and patting when upset, reciprocal affection when feeling cuddly, are all examples of good touches for your child.
Conversely, a ‘bad touch’ is unwelcome physical affection which might make your child feel uncomfortable. It is also true, however, that some children do not perceive such advances as something wrong because they simply do not know the intentions of the culprit. Therefore, we must present a clear outline of bad touch to our children.
Follow the strategies below to teach your kid about bad touch:
- Tell them about their body parts: your child must know about their anatomy. Tell them the names of each part of their bodies, including private body parts. Distinguish general and private body parts by giving the example of underwear or swimsuits. Also, tell them that while unwanted touches on their other body parts are bad, they should never allow anyone to touch their private parts under any circumstances.
- Give them a little idea about the techniques used by molesters to lure children: advise your young one to never accept rewards in exchange for touching, and similar tricks. Tell them that they should not allow anyone to touch their private parts, no matter how sweet and kind they may seem.
- Tell them to not tolerate such touches and report them: your kid should know that bad touches should be reported immediately, and they should never remain silent if they ever have similar encounters.
How should a child respond to a bad touch?
Guiding children on how they should respond to unwanted touches is included in the good touch/bad touch concept. The following are some appropriate responses to bad touch:
- Tell them to be assertive and say no repeatedly to the person trying to touch them inappropriately
- Tell them to leave the place where they are being touched. They could sprint until the person touching them is out of sight (if you are not around), or hide somewhere nearby.
- Tell them to attract attention by screaming for help or loudly telling the perpetrator to stop touching them
- Tell them to share such experiences with somebody they trust, like yourself or an elder sibling
- Tell them to not feel guilty, and that they should not feel bad for not wanting to be touched
- Tell them to avoid such people in the future
You should encourage your child to respond in appropriate manners. Moreover, tell them that you are proud of them for dealing with this matter bravely and maturely.