Living in a cruel world, it is difficult to keep oneself safe, and when it comes to little children, it is all the more important to sensitise them of the subject of good touch and bad touch.
Children are very curious about their surroundings and similarly of their own body too.
Parents and guardians should never avoid or laugh off the questions these young innocent children pose and always patiently answer them, in plain language and in a manner that helps them understand it.
Children should be taught about the difference between good and bad touch from a young age. How, you ask, well here are some pointers to explain to them:
No one is allowed to touch their private parts
These private parts should always be kept covered
All private part’s proper names must be taught rather than making up imaginary names for them, which would make the child think if something is wrong about saying it the right way
For better understanding, explain to him/her that all the body parts covered by their swimsuit are his/her private parts, such as chest/breasts, genitals and buttocks.
Tell that their feelings matter and make sure their feelings aren’t diminished to be something very trivial. Tell them that they shouldn’t ignore their reactions or feelings towards certain touches. If the touch gives a feeling of safety, encouragement, affection or friendliness, then it is a good touch. If the touch makes the child feel discomfort, cringe, anger, disgust or even embarrassment, then it is a bad touch and should be understood as so
If the child feels another person is touching them in an inappropriate or bad way or touching their private parts, he/she should immediately scream for help and run to nearest place/person where he/she finds himself/herself safe
Such incidents shouldn’t be hidden from parents and the child should be encouraged to tell about it to any elder person whom he trusts. The child should be assured that he/she will be heard, believed, supported and protected in the future
Apart from protecting themselves from bad touches, the child should also be taught that he/she is not to touch any other person’s private parts, even if they are being asked by that person to do so. As much as avoiding getting touched inappropriately, they should also restrain themselves from doing bad touches to others, whether voluntary or involuntary.
In a situation where the child is being touched inappropriately or being told to do so to someone else or even themselves, they should say NO, scream enough to let others nearby know that something is wrong and if possible, run away from that place and person.
The child should be told that apart from the parents and the doctor (in presence of parents), no one should be allowed to touch or see their body parts, even if they are close relatives, trusted acquaintances and friends.