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Why should parents teach good touch and bad touch to their tiny little children who will not even understand it?
Check out the news headlines just from Pune city and I guess that answers the above question.
Six-year-old girl raped in Pune
How to teach what is Good Touch and Bad Touch, especially in India?
I started teaching my kids when they started going to school by the school bus. Like you all know I am a paranoid mom when it comes to my babies.
So I would ask them occasionally and casually this: “If your driver, attendant, teachers, principal or any big student ever talked to you badly, come and tell me. You know I am Superwoman and I will kick the ass of any one that hurt you! If any one pinched you, touched you or your shorts, just tell papa or me and we will ensure that person is in the jail.” In my hubby’s language it would be; ” Maar maar ke bhoot bana doonga!” 🙂
For a long time, they believed it and wanted to see my superwoman costume. 🙂 It would be either in the secret cupboard or gone for dry-cleaning or ironing.
Then a few years later when they started to understand things better, while bathing them together in a tub, I told them the parts where people should not touch. No one means no one except mumma and papa.
Then one day my younger one wanted to know “How does an apple tree know it has to grow apples and not mangoes?” Do read the article where I took the opportunity to tell them a bit more about their body parts and why males and females have different part.
Now, I have sat them down and talked about how some people can touch them any where and that if they felt uncomfortable or bad, they have to Say No and come and immediately tell me. I have told them about things we watch on TV or programs be it crime petrol or any such programs but with discretion. When there was rape term used too many times in all the channels, I explained to them by asking them, what it feels like being kissed by anyone on the street especially unknown person?
So each of you will have to find a creative way to teach your children about the safety and the precautions by showing them cartoon videos or discussing with them or telling them stories.
I had the privilege to interview a psychiatrist as I always believe that prevention is better than cure and truly try to follow it. Talking to a psychiatrist is good not only when there is problem but also as a preventive measure.
Interview with Doctor Bhooshan, a leading Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in Pune.
What is the right age to start discussing about Good touch Bad touch with our children? Is there a right age?
About 3-4 years is a good age to start as they need some verbal skills to start with
There are many parents who think that by discussing such sensitive topics with their kids, they are exposing them to something too early and hence interfering with their innocence. What would you say about this and to these parents?
It is about safety and we can talk to kids about preventing bad touch without ever mentioning words like sex/abuse/ body parts that have sexual meaning etc.
A few parents are too shy to discuss this topic. How should they break the ice and proceed to talk with their children. Considering we have various segments of parents.
Parents shyness is really a surprising argument. We are not asking parents to discuss sex with kids. It is safety training like using fire or crossing road.
Who is the better person to start this discussion and is it children’s age dependent? For example Mother, Father, Teacher or Gender based?
I would put it in mother’s basket because there are many cases of fathers being the abusers. A woman is very unlike to be sex predator so the safest one to have this chat with her children.
What do you mean by Good touch?
There is no definition of good touch. Infact this whole discussion about differentiating good and bad touch is dangerous as you are pushing kids to ask uncomfortable questions. Our discussion should be focused on avoiding / reporting bad touch only.
What do you mean by Bad touch?
There are areas of body where nobody is supposed to touch the child. Touching that area is bad touch.
How to teach the difference between touch types, saying No, Run and Sharing with the trusted member for the following categories of children?
1yr to <3yr year olds who do not really understand logic
4 yr to 9 yr olds who have started to explore their bodies without making them conscience about their body parts
10 yr to 16 yr olds who have just reached their teens and have started to experience changes in their bodies
No remedy for age group 1-3yr.
4 yr onwards simple nobadtouch workshop. We should not try to separate teens in the workshop as we are not discussing sex. Only safety.
What are the important points the parents have to keep in mind when they leave their kids alone or in the care of someone else especially relatives?
Never leave kids alone.
There should be multiple adults or multiple children.
1:1 is bad combination.
Never leave alone with male caretakers.
Many families have this tradition of using young boys as house help. This is one of the most difficult situations.
What type of questions parents should ask to ensure everything is fine in the life of their children with respect to this topic?
There are no questions to know this. Our stress has to be to forewarn and forearm the kids so that they report to safe adults at the instance of first bad touch itself. Once abuse has started, children are less likely to report.
If a child has indicated any wrong touch by any one to the parents, what should the parent do to ensure the child is safe and does not get negative thought about sexuality, life or people?
This is for the professionals to handle. Working with difficult emotions of shame, body disgust is complicated and potentially dangerous.
Are there any organizations that can be approached in case anyone want more information or help to handle such mishaps?
Single point contact in Indian cities is childline – phone no. 1098
Can you share good videos and movies that can be shared with the parents to handle easily the topic of Touch?
Dr Bhooshan has a website dedicated on Touch that you all must visit.
How to teach kids about touch and prevention from sexual abuse ?
Watch the video of the short workshop conducted on Preventing Child Abuse that I had the opportunity to watch in his workshop and also later when it was featured in Satyamev Jayate, show by Aamir Khan on Star Plus.
Must visit these websites for Child Sexual Help
Child Line India Foundation is an NGO that is working in India for this cause. Do visit their website to learn from the loads of videos and downloads about prevention and teaching kids very easily via videos made in different languages. Click their website.
They have a tollfree number that can be called at any time to talk to a didi or bhaiya and seek help.
Helpline number 1098 must be taught to the kids of all age.
If you know of any other way to teach the kids about touch do write a comment below. Also if you know of any one or any other site that is helping create awareness in schools or in the society, do mention their names in the comment below.
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