Today, we live in times where children need to be taught to protect themselves against apparent and covert abuse. If you have any previous and unfortunate experience of being abused as a child, you’ll know where the holes in being taught about the signs were. The lessons often start with good touch and bad touch, but it is beyond the simple practice. Read along this blog to find seven fool-proof ways of teaching your child how to understand the age-old defense mechanism, with a modern approach.
1. Teach your Child they are the owners of their body:
One of the biggest factors that play into your child’s recognition of good touch and bad touch is bodily autonomy. We teach them everything except the fact that they’re the owners of their bodies. No elder, parent, teacher, child, or stranger has the right to touch them if they wish against it. Once you start to teach your child how to own their body, it may seem confusing how to help them develop confidence around it. Start with positive affirmations that will help them recognize themselves as a sovereign being even when they are minors needing the assistance of adults.
2. Make sure to reinforce their personal boundaries:
Teaching your junior how to understand, state, and uphold their boundaries is a long yet rewarding journey. To make things simpler, the aim of knowing their boundaries will help them figure out if there are things out of the regular scope of safe contact with other people that may otherwise go unnoticed. It is imperative that you start early since child abusers groom children to forego their boundaries with rewards. The key is to establish a routine that places a higher reward and awareness. For instance, not accepting edibles and chocolates from strangers, or opening the safety door when alone at home without a parent’s consent.
3. Pinpoint private parts and no-touch areas:
Regularly practice the “okay to touch” and “private parts, not okay to touch” drill with your children. The latter can include the groin, chest, neck, and other vulnerable areas that are considered intimate. To establish safe touch, let them know when it is okay for a parent or adult to touch them thereafter obtaining their consent. For example, if your child is young and still in need of assistance while bathing, you need to display the protocol of consent being important and how a safe touch of a caretaker feels.
4. Establish a relationship of trust with your child:
At the end of the day, you are the only person your child can talk to freely. Establishing a safe communication space will help you protect them further. It can start with you always asking them about their day and letting them talk about it. If you think your child is showing signs of mental health decline due to abuse or harassment, consult with a personal injury attorney to address the issue legally. It is crucial that you establish how you would trust them above anyone and anything, helping them reach out to you for help if they ever need it.
5. Encourage your child to follow their gut:
Abuse does not start overnight or all of sudden. Many instances revolve around an individual belonging to the same community or circle rather than a stranger. For this reason, teach your child to follow their instinct and gut when they feel someone is not a safe person for them. This may also need you to take a hard look at your acquaintances and known circle if your child acts anxious or scared around them, refuses to make contact, or shows other signs of distress.
6. Show them how to say no to physical contact:
The most powerful word that children are not taught often enough is “No”. It can stop a lot of mishaps, injustices, and distressing events in their tracks before occurring. Teach your children to politely decline rides, sweets, invitations, and other offers first. Then, teach them to hold those boundaries and assert their “No”, even if it may seem rude to others. Their physical safety comes above anything else.
7. Don’t force them to hug or kiss adults they’re uncomfortable around:
Children have inbuilt defense mechanisms to keep them safe, and sadly, it is forced to shut down as they grow. You may see perfectly friendly kids not wanting to hug a particular relative or friend. Though it may disappoint the member, it is imperative that you support your child’s choice. Making them hug or chastely kiss adults when they are not comfortable gives them mixed signals as to what teaching to trust is.
By reinforcing these seven lessons in your child’s routine, you’ll be able to raise self-aware and strong individuals. Since Rome was not built overnight, this definitely needs some revision and refining as they grow and the context changes. We hope this blog helps you get started!
Also See: Leaving Your Kids Home Alone? Here Are Caring Tips Every Parent Needs