‘3 YEAR OLD SEXUALLY ASSAULTED BY UNCLE’ read the Newspaper headlines. Stories of abuse have taken a toll in today’s times. Sometimes there are blazing headlines – ‘Driver jailed for assaulting 5-year-old’ to ’10 year old’s sketches send rapist uncle to jail’. In an overwhelming majority of the cases young children are assaulted by someone who is part of the household – uncle, neighbour, teacher and so on.
Being a mother of two young daughters, it was absolute alarming for Megha. But she was sceptic about initiating a talk with her children who were too young to understand the sensitivity of the matter.
Parents should talk to children in a way it doesn’t give the child an impression that the world is an unsafe place which would make the child nervous and fearful. Instead start sensitizing children about good touch and bad touch in casual ways.
1) Start by telling about their body parts
Kids as young as 2 years understand if you tell them. We should tell them the importance of body parts and also teach the correct anatomical words. This way you will empower your children’s knowledge about their body.
2) Talk easy
Pick the moderate tone. Don’t make the conversation inherently serious or too mushy. Talk casually and initiate the touch talk during play time or while you show some relatable videos.
3) What are private parts?
You have to tell your child that certain parts that are covered by undergarments are private. Explain that no-one has the right to touch them in places and ways that make them feel scared or uncomfortable. Follow the same rule within the family so your child will know good touch and bad touch from the perspective of his body parts.
4) Limits of politeness
There is a difference between being polite and being polite with strangers who make you uncomfortable. Allow your child to be rude when someone is not treating them right. Strive to keep open channels of communication so it’s easy for your child to tell you why they behaved in a particular way or why they didn’t feel safe.
5) Avoiding unnecessary touch
It’s okay to break some traditions of the society. Don’t force children to give goodbye kiss, sit on someone’s lap or touch feet of every elder they meet. You can make this lighter by teaching your child some modern ways of greeting someone – waving hand, a high-five or just greeting verbally.