In today’s scenario, with increase in number of childhood sexual abuse and rape cases, it has become essential for guardians to talk to their kids about the differences between appropriate and inappropriate. It’s also important to talk to children about sexual identity, and sexual development.
At a very young age, children get curious and start exploring their bodies by touching, or rubbing their body parts even the genitals.
During these years, they require appropriate guidance such as role, safety, and what privacy and private parts mean.
Explain with examples what constitutes ‘good touch’ as well as ‘bad touch’. You may explain “good touch” as a way people show feelings of care and nurturance for each other (like; gentle hugging). Whereas “Bad touch” is kind of forced or unwanted touch (e.g. touching private parts). You can make your child learn about what is an acceptable and what is an unacceptable touch, also that s/he must retaliate saying “NO” and inform you (or teacher if at school) about any inappropriate or bad touches.
Clear guidelines: Ensure that the child know, it is not okay for anyone touch or even have a glance at their private parts. It becomes easy for children to follow a rule, and they will be able to recognise a bad touch. For children below 7 years you can use swim suit rule to explain private parts (parts covered by a swimming suit).
Limit media exposure: Parental control settings are available on almost every device. Be cautious that children may knowingly or unknowingly discover adult sexual behaviours through screens. Pornographic content may be shown to a child by peers or predators in your absence. Ask your child to report this to you if any such thing occurs.
Using right words: Make the children learn accurate names for all body parts including genitals words (like, ‘penis’, ‘vagina’, ‘breasts’ and ‘buttocks’). Made up names may be indicative of something wrong and may also make the child curious to find proper names.
Encourage queries: Don’t refuse to answers the questions of curious little mind. However, your answer should depend upon child’s age ability to comprehend and maturity.
Handling curiosity: Don’t laugh or mock even if you find the queries are silly. Even don’t react in aggressive or disgust manner. Be sensitive and don’t make the child feel ashamed for his/her curiosity. Answer the queries clearly and precisely, using simple words.
Keep it short and simplified: Don’t go into a elaborative explanation. For instance, a pre-schooler needs not to know the details of sexual activities or reproduction. All information shared with the children must be appropriate for their age.
Big ‘NO’ to forced hug: Do not ask your child to give hugs or kisses to people if they do not wish to do so. Be it grandparents other relatives or even the parents, it should be child’s right to tell whether they want or don’t want to hug someone.
Keep reinforcing the idea that their body is their own and they shall protect it. Also reassure your children that you will listen to them, trust them, and want to protect them.
Good touch VS Bad touch