How to tell your children the difference between good-touch and bad-touch?September 22, 2017
These days, the subject of child molestation and abuse is of prime importance because of the risky time that we live in. Sex offenders, paedophiles and molesters are constantly on the rise in today’s society. The age group that is most plagued by this epidemic are kids of age 6-7 years of age. Part of the reason why this exists is, that they are too young to understand the difference between what is appropriate and what isn’t.
Every day, media reports come in describing how young and innocent children are being abused sexually by an adult in close proximity to them. The issue here is that the children do not have any idea of inappropriate such actions are. It is still a tender subject for parents to broach with their kids and a majority of such parents might not want to speak about such dicey topics. But it does not take away from the fact that children in this day and age need to be self-aware to keep them safe from such terrible abuse. The main objective here is to inform your child about the danger of such contact without inducing any anxiety.
The startling rise in incidents involving child molestation around the nation has brought serious concerns among parents and guardians residing. This responsibility can’t be ignored by kindergarten schools, schools, and other such institutes. They have to run thorough background checks prior to hiring employees who work in child-centric surroundings. There is also the immediate need to teach children everywhere the difference between good touch and bad touch.
The age at which children should be sensitized to such situations
Each child has a unique intellectual and mental pace of growth; therefore there is no fixed age to declare them ready for such preventive talks. This is where parent involvement plays a huge role in deciding when it is right to have this kind of a talk with the child. Therefore it the parents are generally advised to talk to their children when they are two to three years old, about the time at which they are exposed to the outside world by sending them to school. Now is the time to initiate the good-touch, bad-touch talk.
How to define the line between good touch and bad touch
It may seem to be a gargantuan task to make children understand the difference between regions of the body that could be touched out of affection and the ones that need to be left well alone. To indicate these parts of a child’s body, parents will have to appropriate and easy to comprehend vocabulary, that is to be comprehended by anyone the child may approach in case of any trouble. For instance, it is advisable to tell children that body parts that are covered up using a swimsuit cannot be touched by anyone, except by parents or during a medical check-up by a medical professional such as a doctor in the presence of their parents. The main thing here is to enable the children to understand the difference between various body parts and the right reserved for anyone to access any of them.
Good-touch and bad-touch will hold no meaning to the child is he does not know what feelings to associate them with such as which one is acceptable and which is not. To make things easier, the parents can demonstrate which would be a comfortable feeling and which would be an uncomfortable feeling. For instance you can show the image of a mother hugging a child to be associated with comfort and an image or a video of child being spanked as being an uncomfortable feeling and will associate this with discomfort.
In a majority of cases it has been seen that molesters use affection as a means to have their way with the unsuspecting child. This confuses the child in identifying what a bad touch is. In a few cases it has been reported that the child seemed to have liked the touch as he/she did not have needed awareness about the kinds of touch there are. Therefore parents need to inform their child thoroughly and impress upon them that the parts of the body covered by a swimsuit cannot be touched by anyone, even if it seems to be apparently “affectionate”
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Motivating the child to confide in someone:
It has been often observed that a majority of the children, who face such situations, never confide in anyone and end up suffering in silence. The reason this happens is that parents of such kids usually fail to develop a healthy bond with them. If parents expect their children to open up to them and talk about such incidents with them, then you need to make them feel that you are always paying attention to them as a child. This will lead your children to believe that they have assured by the feeling that their complaints and any such concerns will be heard without a pinch of salt.
Reactions to bad touch:
This is where you as a parent will have to distinctly tell them to say “NO.” Children need to know that it is always ok to say no, and when to do so. After saying no, the abused child should be taught how to get over the immediate fear of the molester and even scream and call out for help. You as a parent will have to explain in detail how calling out, making a commotion and or screaming will get them the immediate attention of the people in the surroundings, and come to their aid. Children should then be explained the level of danger that such incidents are associated with, and that they need to run to a safe place or person after calling out in the open. And you have to tell your kid that there is no other choice than sounding such an alarm when someone comes too close to them even after saying no to them.
Dealing with children who face molestation:
This particular aspect can make or break the potential future of a child. Such heinous crimes greatly affect the psychological state of the child; it might have involved a great deal of physical and even mental torture. Society makes it harder for the child to recover from this incident by using words such as “survivor” and “victim” which will go on to serve as unpleasant reminders of a horrific incident. This will make such children lose any hope of fully recovering from such incidents, eventually resulting in a ton of self-blame and guilt. In its place all that is needed is kindness and continued reassurance that they weren’t to blame for this incident.
Using Appropriate Language
When kids get curious about the various body parts, especially during their bath time, it is best for you as a parent to teach them the accurate names for their anatomy. It would eventually help them explain what happened to them, if they ever encounter a molester and undergo any form of abuse. This will help bring the abuser or the sexual predator to justice, or at least prevent such bad people from repeating such heinous acts with other unsuspecting and innocent children.
Keeping Conversation Light and Easy
A major step to making such talks work is to keep such conversations mostly serious, but also keep it unemotional or even light-hearted, so that kids are not weighed down by the intensity of the topic and will be able to ask questions if they feel they have any queries. As a pointer, parents can actually let such conversations happen organically and work such topics into everyday life. This should be brought down to the intensity of talking about bath time or potty time.
It is also worth noting that a majority of the predators have an on-going interaction with the child in question such as a coach, teacher, clergy etc. Therefore they will not start by touching the child in sensitive regions of the body, but may begin by rubbing, stroking or caressing their back or their hair. This will result in children reasoning this touch, and thinking that it is ok since it is not the swimsuit area and so it is fine, even if they don’t like it. By this same logic, round about the time that the sexual predator moves to the sexual areas, it may already be too late since the “grooming” process is already under way to completion. So it is advisable to tell the children early on that, if the child feels uncomfortable with touch from a person, then the child should say no to it, irrespective of the area that is being touched. Somme parents and child care experts feel that even the mouth should be regarded as a private body part or area and should have restricted access.
Explaining What Safe Touch Is
Children also need to be told with substantial examples how sometimes, doctors and parents will have to carry out actions for their safety, even though wouldn’t want to carry those actions out. This means, getting an injection done at the doctor’s clinic, or in a totally different scenario, being pulled out of the street without any warning. Parents will find that, sometimes they will have to change doctors in case the doctors don’t explain a procedure well enough, such as a complete physical examination that has to be done to complete a medical check-up. In this case the doctor will have to explain themselves to the child in the child’s own frequency that such a medical procedure or a test would be necessary. If that is not done, then you would have to change the doctor
Not Force Affection in the form of Physical Contact
Never force your children to hug someone they do not want to. While a hug from a genuine and loving adult is not a bad touch, it will in all likelihood empower the child to feel that he/she is completely in control of her physical body. This can even extend to other forms of physical contact such as holding hands, being lifted up by the adult, or obviously being kissed on the forehead or anywhere else. So any form of affection in the form of a physical contact should be optional for the kid, and the kid should be able to move away from it when he/she feels like it.
Helping Your Child Trust His/Her Feelings
This is a reinforcement of what was stated earlier, that a child should know that any touch that makes them uncomfortable, uneasy or makes them feel bad in general is a bad touch. Children should be taught to trust their own feelings from a very young age.
Practicing or Role Playing
This is a slightly complicated step and should only be attempted by parents who are good at communicating with their child. The parent and their child can practice what the child should say – for example the child can be taught to say “No, I don’t like that. STOP!” and tell an adult about what happened as soon as possible and show where they were touched in their private areas. Other scenarios can be practiced or acted out in a fun, but meaningful way, and other phrases can be used like “go away!” “Get away from me!” and other similar phrases to emphasize a refusal
Conclusion – Good Touch/ Bad Touch
All adults who are parents would like their children to always be safe and would like to impart them the knowledge to keep them safe in every situation. They would want to protect their kids against all possible odds. Considering the sheer volume of people that kids come into contact with, there are bound to be at least a small percentage of them that are bound to be not good people. Therefore, the responsibility to sensitize children and make them ready for any possible adverse situation relating to these incidents will fall upon the parent or the guardian.