With the outcry from parents and children, the world has awoken to the ever-increasing rate of child sexual abuse. Statistics confirm that 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 13 boys were sexually abused as a child in the United States.
This caused a wave of seminars and lectures encouraging parents to teach their children the tell-tale signs of abuse before it happens. This birthed the good and bad touch movement. With this, parents were encouraged to teach their children between the ages of 2 and 13 about sex.
Sadly though, some parents fail or delay talking to their children about touches that are considered inappropriate.
Good Touch and Bad Touch
Psychologists and doctors have advised that the best time to teach your child about good and bad touches is as soon as they can understand you.
Using a friendly tone, make your child understand that their body is special and unique. Then proceed to explain that good touches are the ones that make them feel safe and secured. They are usually given by people who love them and want to help them. This can be given by parents, siblings, or family members.
However, emphasize that the goal is for them to feel safe as even family members can sexually abuse a child. Some examples of good touch include holding hands, hugging, high fives, changing their diapers, etc.
Bad touches on the other hand hurt them and make them feel unsafe. This kind makes them want to run back to their mother or parents. They include touching their private parts, kicks or rough pushes, etc.
How to Teach your Child the Good and Bad Touch
1. Bond First with your Child
One of the major reasons parents put off having the good and bad touch conversation with their kids is the lack of bond between them.
Bonding with your child first allows for a flow in communication while having a good and bad touch conversation. The absence of a bond stilts your conversation and makes your child more eager to leave the room than listen to what you are saying.
2. Teach them the Names and Duties of their Body Parts
When children see how free you are with mentioning their body parts, it encourages their openness on the subject. Show them their body parts as well as the private ones and enlighten them on the functions of each. Inform them that their private parts are private and should not be inappropriately touched by anyone including close family members.
A good place to do this may be during their bath routine, this makes the conversation natural but practical.
3. Show them Examples of Good Touch and Bad Touch
Parents sometimes shy away from being practical when it comes to good or bad touch. However, you must understand that your child’s level of understanding is not the same as yours.
Children tend to understand better with visuals. So try to give them physical examples of good and bad touches. This way they can recognize them when they happen.
4. Talk About Sex with your Child
The truth is that if you don’t talk about sex with your child, they will learn it elsewhere. The cost of this of option, however, is that you are not privy to the content of the lesson.
Children indeed develop at their own pace, so try to have a sex talk with your child at the right age. This will help them know the options available to them and how to avoid the negative ones.
5. Teach them How to Handle Inappropriate Touches
As practical as possible, teach your child what to do when they notice inappropriate touches. Teach them words like, “Stop it!”, “No!”, “Don’t touch me!”.
In the same vein, encourage them to share touches they consider inappropriate with you. This is because many child abusers convince them to keep it a secret. By so doing, you are empowering your child to know how to ward off inappropriate touches as well as find out about them at the earliest possible time.
6. Have this Conversation Again
Just having a good and bad touch conversation once, does not do the trick. Having created a unique bond with your child, try to have this conversation intermittently until your child becomes an adult.
Doing so helps your child to be on guard for any inappropriate touch and help you keep tabs of your child’s safety.