With all the things that are happening in our country and all around the world, a parent can never be too careful. Child abuse is the worst thing that could happen to anyone. Not only are they robbed of their innocence, but most kids don't even know how to talk to their parents or any other trusted adult about what happened or what to do in case this happens.
Considering how commonplace this disgusting and formidable crime has become, it is of utmost importance for parents to teach their children the difference between a good touch and a bad touch as early as possible. No matter how uncomfortable it may seem right now, it is always better to keep your child informed and educated about the dangers lurking around them. This way your mind can be at peace knowing that your child will be safe and your child will be aware of how they should react when in such situations.
It is also advisable to have open, mature and healthy conversations about these issues every now and then. Increase the depth of their awareness as they grow older and ensure that they feel free to tell you anything.
1. Start at an early age
You can start teaching them about it from the time they can comprehend what you say (2-3 years). You don’t have to worry about your child being too young to understand what you are saying. Children do have an understanding that certain parts of their body are private right from when they are toddlers.
2. Safe zones
Make your child understand that no one is supposed to touch the parts of their body that are covered by their undergarments. The only exceptions are when their parents are giving them a bath or when a doctor is doing a check up in the presence of parents. If anyone else touches them, they should immediately inform you about it.
3. Go easy on them
When you are first telling them about it, go easy on them. Tell them while they are sitting about and relaxing or during their playtime. Don’t make the conversation too serious or they may not pay attention.
4. Give them the facts
Although you should go easy on them, you should not hold back on the information. As they grow up, you should gradually increase their awareness. You should first teach them the parts of a human body. You can use a children's picture book to do so. You can then tell them about sex without making it sound scary. Finally, you can tell them about rape, molestation and sexual harassment.
5. Age-appropriate information
You should teach them the difference between good touch and bad touch when they are 2. By the time they are 4, they should know the right words to use when describing any untoward incident. The key is to ensure that before you send them off to school, they know all the correct terminologies and what to do in case they sense something is wrong.
6. Affection should not be forced: Teach them how to say "no"
Teach them at an early age that they are not obliged to show affection to everyone all the time. If they don't feel like hugging or kissing a friend or a relative when they meet, they don't have to and that's okay. If someone asks them to sit on their lap and they don't want to, they can say "no". As they practice saying no to these little things, they will get trained on the concept of consent.
It is our duty and responsibility as parents to ensure that our children are aware and able to look after themselves.
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