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Teach your children about good and bad touch

Alvina Clara, April 01, 2017 1:11 IST

Have 'the talk'

The situation is grave. Cases of child sexual abuse are on the rise and the parents are as alarmed as the little ones are defenceless. Besides, the increasing number of instances where the perpetrator gets away with the crime is shocking.

The minds of children are innocent and due to this, they are more vulnerable to exploitation and sexual abuse. It’s high time we start instructing young children about good touch and bad touch so that they can differentiate between the two and guard themselves.

Every single day, the media reports such cases where young children, both boys and girls, are sexually abused by a known adult family member. While the grown-ups cleverly entice them in adult games with playful tactics, the kids don’t even comprehend what is happening to them. Such trauma can result in emotional scars that last a lifetime and we as parents, friends or well-wishers need to do everything in our power to protect our children.

We need not feel shy or apprehensive about exposing them to the possibility of abuse early on, as their safety is our prime concern. We need to make them understand, in a friendly and gentle manner, that their chest, buttocks and genitals are private areas and no one must be allowed to touch them. And that any such touch must be reported straightaway. Of course, clarify that you, as parents, are allowed to touch them while bathing or cleaning them.

The difference

Good touch: It feels pleasant and comforting. It is a way to show affection, love and care. Explain this with the help of examples like mommy’s hug or papa’s goodnight kiss or their friend holding their hand.

Bad touch: It makes you uncomfortable, hurt or ashamed, and you want it to stop. You strongly feel something is not right and the person tells you not to tell anyone about the touching.

Follow up by teaching them what they need to do if they are subjected to bad touch:

Tell them loud and clear that they need to get away from that place as fast as possible. Instantly call for help, go to a trustworthy person like a parent or a teacher and narrate the incident.

Advise them to avoid being alone with that person in the future and always scream for aid if family elders aren’t nearby.

Communicate to them that there is no need to be scared of anyone or feel awkward about themselves as they haven’t done anything wrong. It’s the other person who is guilty, not them.

Be their best friend

As parents, most essentially, you need to be your child’s best friend and explain all of this to him/her in a manner that they understand, with a gentle tone of voice, using proper reiterations. Only if we seem approachable will our children open up to us and share with us their happiness and sorrows.

Spend quality time with your children. Listen attentively when they talk about something that’s bothering them or even the incidents that occurred during the day. Assure them that they can share anything with you, at any time.

All of us want to shield our children from all of life’s miseries. But they come in contact with so many individuals every day and there will be decent as well as wicked ones. So, it becomes our responsibility to caution them on a timely basis, so that they are prepared to face and handle any peculiar situation or person coming their way.

Sensitising children about various issues makes them emotionally strong. It helps them handle not-so- positive events in life in a better way so that they do not impact their growth and personality.

Although many children at a tender age tend to make up stories, it is vital that as a parent, you take them seriously rather than scoff it off, heartily support and genuinely believe in them. They need to know they can trust you, and that you will go miles to safeguard them in all circumstances. Make a big difference by being their best pal!

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