Body safety: how to talk to your kids
What do you need to do to help your kids understand the concept of body safety and sexual abuse? There’s only one way: talk to them in their language.
Yet, given the complexity of the topic, the most prepared of us can slip. It’s the kind of talk, which, if not done in an easy manner, can put fears in their little minds.
So relax, be confident and talk to your child.
Boss of my body
Introduce the ‘Boss of My Body’ concept to your child and that they can say NO to any unwanted physical touch from any person. The message sent to the child here is – no one can touch, hug, or kiss them if they don’t want to.
Also, don’t force your children to hug or kiss anyone out of respect. Rather speak on your child’s behalf and tell your relatives in a firm and respectful manner that they should let the child respond in the manner he or she feels comfortable with.
Much of the sexual abuse is inflicted on children by family members or other people in close proximity to the children, according to the World Health Organization.
‘My Super Team’
Another simple concept is that of ‘My Super Team’. Tell your child that they have a Super Team at home and school and that if they ever feel worried, scared, or unsure about anything, they can share it with their Super Team – five people you think the child would be most comfortable with.
Choose the team with your child. Let each member of the team know the concept so that they are ready to respond if the child comes to them with a concern.
Instill the confidence in your child that the Super Team will always believe them. The child should look at this Super Team as their go-to place for all their problems.
No secrets policy
Tell your child that they should never keep secrets from you. Also, don’t berate your kids if they come and share something with you – be it an eraser they sneaked from someone or venting about a fight they have had with another child at school.
Understand the world from their perspective. Regularly ask your child about the teachers and other kids at the school. Build their trust so that feel comfortable in confiding in you – whatever the issue may be.
No touching of private parts
First, explain to your child what private parts are, if you have not done so yet. Tell them why they are called ‘private’ and why no one should be allowed to see or touch the private parts.
Explain to your child that no one can touch their private parts. And in the same way, your child should not touch anyone else’s private parts.
If anyone asks your child to touch private parts or talks about them, they must inform their Super Team.
No respect for force
We regularly tell our children to respect teachers and other children in school or the neighbourhood. Make sure your kids do not misunderstand this and fall prey to bullying and harassment.
So the message to your child should be clear – while they must respect others, no one can force them to do anything. If someone does, they must tell their Super Team.
There is obviously no perfect method to protect children from sexual or other abuse, but making your child aware and giving them some simple tools can help reduce this risk.
Love Matters celebrates all equal and pleasurable relationships between consenting adults. Child sexual abuse does not fulfil any of the above criteria. It is a crime, an act of violence.
Feel free to write to us on the Love Matters Discussion Board or on our Facebook page to discuss this issue further.