Raising Awareness about the Good Touch and the Bad Touch in Children
“I don’t want to go to school momma, ” Riya was crying again today.
Priya, her mother was at her wit’s end. Riya was five year old, she used to be a bubbly girl and always eager to go school. But since the last week she was not her usual self. They tried to talk to her but she just cried and cried and refused to go. Finally, they took her to a paediatrician who referred them to a child counsellor. After few sessions they come to know that one of the peons at school was misbehaving with her and warned her not to tell anyone. Priya was devastated! She with the help of the doctor taught Riya about good and bad touch and promised herself to stay extra cautious in the future.
In today’s time as a parent, as a teacher, or as grandparents we must teach our children about good touch and bad touch.
Here are a few tips for fathers and mothers, about how to teach their kids about Good Touch and Bad Touch:
▪︎ Give Them Ownership of Their Body
Teach your children from, about 18 months that they own their bodies (‘Your body is all yours.’) and that no one has a right to touch them unless it’s okay with them. Soon they will know that their bodies belong to them and that they can reserve certain parts as ‘private.’ Even if it’s something like holding hands with someone or having a friend hug or kiss them, they will know they have the right to say ‘no’ if they don’t like it.
▪︎ Use Appropriate Language
As soon as your kids start displaying curiosity about their body parts, especially during bath time, teach them the correct names for their anatomy. It is important for kids to have that knowledge in case they ever need to talk to me about anything.
▪︎ Keep Conversation Light and Easy
Keep these kinds of conversations serious but still unemotional (almost light-hearted) so that kids feel very comfortable talking about it and asking questions. And try to let these conversations happen naturally and work them into their everyday life. Just like talking about it during potty or bath time.
▪︎ Explain What Safe Touch Is
Tell them which touch is good and which is bad.
▪︎ Empower Them to Say ‘NO’
Teach them how to say ‘no’ and how to shout for help.
▪︎ Use Books About Good Touch and Bad Touch
Get some help from books to teach the kids about how to differentiate between good and bad touch.
▪︎ Don’t Force Affection
Don’t force your children to hug someone if they don’t want to. It will help them to say no.
▪︎ Help Your Child Trust His/Her Feelings
Kids should be taught that a touch (from anyone) that makes them feel bad or uncomfortable is a bad touch. Kids should be taught to trust their own feelings.
▪︎ Practice or Role Play
Practice with your kids how should they should say (‘No, I don’t like that. STOP!’) and do (tell a trusted adult) if they are ever asked to show or are touched in their private areas.
Identifying the Signs of Child Abuse
The Signs of Child Abuse are very hard to analyse and it differ from kids to kids.
It’s not always easy to spot sexual abuse because perpetrators often take steps to hide their actions. Some signs are easier to spot than others. For instance, some warning signs might be noticed by a caretaker or parent, and are often red flags that the child needs medical attention. Listen to your instincts. If you notice something that isn’t right or someone is making you uncomfortable—even if you can’t put your finger on why—it’s important to talk to the child.
Behavioural Signs of Child Abuse:
-Sexual behaviour that is inappropriate for the child’s age
-Bedwetting or soiling the bed, if the child has already outgrown these behaviours
-Not wanting to be left alone with certain people or being afraid to be away from primary caregivers, especially if this is a new behaviour
-Tries to avoid removing clothing to change or bathe
Emotional signs of Child Abuse:
-Excessive talk about or knowledge of sexual topics
-Nightmares or fear of being alone at night
-Excessive worry or fearfulness
What to do if your child is abused
Your child is counting on you for support. In order to put your child’s safety first, it’s important to take care of yourself. That means finding a way to work through your feelings and reactions to the abuse that doesn’t interfere with your child’s welfare. It may not be easy, but with the right support it is possible. Finding out that your child was hurt by someone you know and trust, can present some additional challenges as a parent. You may be faced with a range of emotions specific to this situation that others can’t relate to. No one has the right to invalidate the way you feel, but it’s important to find a way to manage these emotions in order to prioritize the safety of your child.
About the Author: Sneha Prakash
Entrepreneur, Teacher, Feminist, Literary Critic
Book Reviewer, Writer, Culinarian, Mother, Wife & Daughter
- Studying PGCTE at English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad.
- Post Graduate Certification in Feminist Studies at IIT Madras.
- Master’s Degree in English Literature from IGNOU.
- Bachelor’s of Arts from Patna University, Patna.
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