Friday, August 7, 2015

How to Teach Kids about Safe Touch

One of the many fears I have for our girls aside from their safety is being violated. As  proactive parents, we constantly teach them about strangers, which is a fine line because you want them to be friendly but need to teach the difference about being friendly and talking to strangers. We teach our kids to not bully and to stand up for themselves. We teach the ABC's , healthy eating, manners . We teach them about internet use and telling us whatever it is..that is on their minds..an open communication. Is it enough? It just doesn't stop there.
With all the news out there about child molestation , that goes on for years without the predators being caught, we often ask ourselves. How can we keep our children safe?
Teaching our young kids about safe touch unsafe touch is very vital. The two most important keys in teaching
them about safe touch is our guidance and communication/conversations. It is never too early to teach our kids about this.




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1. Teach body parts.

       Name body parts with your kids. Awareness is the first step on being comfortable with their bodies.
Activity to do :  Use this people shapes and help them label all the body parts. Make it a fun craft day.

2. Teach the "privates" and "privacy"

         After you've helped your kids in naming body parts, show them the "private parts". Explain that those private parts are private. Meaning we do not share our private parts . Explain and differentiate when a touch is okay and appropriate versus not okay and inappropriate --> going to your doctor's visit , when mom or dad helps you in the bathroom or when he or she is being helped when hurt. 

      The book, The Right Touch by Sandy Kleven is a great tool. It is a gentle read aloud story. In the story, young Jimmy's mom explains the difference between touches that are positive and touches that are secret, deceptive or forced. She tells him how to resist inappropriate touching, affirming that abuse is not the child s fault.


3. Their body belongs to them.

Explain to your kids that if anyone asks to see or touch their "private parts", they should say NO . Tell them that their body parts ..private parts belong to them and that NO ONE should touch it without their permission ( again, differentiate when a touch is appropriate).  That it is not okay for someone to ask them to take off their clothes, it is not okay for someone to take pictures or videos of them without their clothes.

In the same matter, teach them that other people have private parts too and that they should respect it too.

4. Fine line between POLITE and CONSENT.

This is such a sensitive topic for some families. As parents, we want to teach our kids to be respectful and polite most especially with RELATIVES AND FRIENDS. ( Hello Aunties and Uncle's, Grandma and Grandpa). There were times when family get really hurt and offended when our girls would not give a kiss or a hug.  Please for Pete's sake, let's not force our kids to give hugs and kisses..when they don't want to.

We NEED to clearly teach our kids about consent. By forcing them, we are confusing them about ownership of their body. Their body belongs to them. Let's not confuse them that they do not have control of their own bodies. Offer an alternative instead, like a "flying kiss" or " sing a song for them".

5 .Play the game of  SAFE TOUCH AND UNSAFE TOUCH.

Make a list of  "touches" . Use index cards and on on each card, write a name of a touch. Example : hitting, kicking, visit to a doctor with mom and dad in the room, a person asking to touch their privates, pushing, pinching)

Let your kid draw a card and let them tell you if it is a safe touch or unsafe touch. Give rewards by all means. Make it a fun learning experience.

6. Keep the conversation open .

Refrain from being impatient about answering questions. Believe me, as hard as it is for us to explain this difficult topic to them , it can also be confusing to their young minds. Keep the conversations open and gentle for their young minds. Use age appropriate explanations. We want them to learn and not frighten them .
Do not have this conversation only once. Revisit often.

7. NO secrets

 Whatever made them feel unsafe, uncomfortable , scared and upset , confused about a touch-- Assure them that they need to tell you or a trusted grown up. No secrets. When you talk to them openly , gently and honestly ( age appropriate though), it sets a tone of trust and safety..that they can talk to you about anything.

8. Pro active

As I have mentioned above, don't let this be a one time conversation. Revisit these talks. Watch a video about safe touch , read books about safe touches. You are your kids advocate. You are your children's voice. Let's equip them.

Here's a short video on child safety - NO TOUCH.



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6 comments:

  1. Great info. I was abused as a child and taught this to my daughter when she was young. You can't be with your kids 24/7 so they need to learn and have an open relationship with their parents.:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Susan,

      My trust was violated too so this is very personal to me. Now that I am a mother, it just raised a whole new level of worry and faith. I know, you understand what I mean. Thank you very much for stopping by..

      Delete
  2. This is SO IMPORTANT!! I was abused, and so was my daughter. I pray everyday that her daughter is not. I will talk to her about this THANK YOU!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Melinda,

      Yes, I couldn't agree more! It is very important and personal for me. My trust was violated too and I will give my 500% to protect our children. We can never be too careful. I'd rather be paranoid than the alternative. Thank you for sharing and it means a lot.

      Delete
  3. Another great book to read to them is I Said No by Kimberly and Zack King ( a mother and son team who wrote the book after the son is approached by his best friend).

    ReplyDelete
  4. As a former CPS worker and now elementary teacher, I'd say this is pretty spot on. Terminology is definitely key. Giving crazy or "cute" names to body parts isn't necessarily the best way to go from my experience. Having anatomical names really helps. Also, be careful in using terms such as good, bad, wrong or right when referring to touch. A lot of times sexual abuse doesn’t feel bad (such as fondling ) just because our bodies generally naturally respond positively. I like that you use terms such as safe and unsafe. Thank you for sharing. We are the first line of defense for our kids.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping by and know that all of your comments are appreciated !