In the light of recent events, here is a guide for parents to keep their kids secure as they navigate themselves in increasingly unsafe conditions. The guide helps teach primarily about good and bad touch, along with other sensitive topics that parents normally struggle to discuss with their children.
First of all, keep the tone casual.
We often tend to scare our children in an attempt to protect them and end up alienating them.
Hence, when something happens they blame themselves and cannot talk due to fear. This is why it is crucial to have casual conversations with them about such things, so that they are not scared of you and can come to you for help whenever needed.
Start by mentioning good and bad touch.
Try and demonstrate for them the difference between good and bad touch.
Children at a very young age need and take time understanding such ideas. It is important to go over them again and again. And make sure whatever you are teaching them, give them an example of a situation so that they know what’s going on if they ever end up in such a situation.
For example, you can say the good touch makes you feel ? and bad touch makes you feel ?.
In order to help explain it better and ensure that the child is making the right connections, you can even convert it into a story for them or a song.
Children tend to emulate characters that they like and remember.
Another good way would be to reenact the situation.
Parents can reenact how a child is supposed to act when such incidents occur. You can teach them to call out for help, tell them all important contact details or just plain running away.
They will understand better how they need to act if they have practiced it previously. We understand that this may make many uncomfortable but at the end of the day, if it helps protect your child then it is definitely worth a try.
Children as young as three years old can understand the concept of protection.
When a child is three years old, he is able to grasp the concept of protection. This means that you can start talking to them about abuse. And try not to instill fear, rather explain the situation to them in a manner that they can comprehend. A manner that does not scare them or makes them feel responsible. Empower them to take charge of the situation, so that they don’t feel helpless.
Educate children from a young age about how they shouldn’t interact with someone they are not familiar with.
Or call it “stranger danger” to help them understand that they should not accept favors or gifts from strangers
Name their body parts for them.
Often at times, we see that parents are so shy to talk about private parts that no name is given to them. Start identifying body parts to make conversations easier. However, they must know what parts are private. One can even come up with their own terms for private parts. This will only ensure that a child is easier in talking about it. Make sure that you do not snub their curiosity. As much as they want to know about their eyes or nose, they will be equally interested in knowing about their private parts.
They are bound to ask questions. Do not, at any point, associate shame with the private parts.
If you are concerned about your children talking about this in public then show them the boundaries. They can also detect what discussion is public and what is private.
Some protection strategies for parents:
In order to avoid such situations, there are certain safety measures that parents can take. Number one is that you limit the time a child spends with an adult one-on-one. This is related to elders, domestic help, and maulvis, etc.
Number two is that you understand your child’s emotional shifts. If the child gets angry, upset or shy repeatedly in the presence of someone, make sure you talk about it.
Number three is to trust your child and your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in someone’s presence, protect your child as well.
Did you find this guide useful? Are there any other suggestions you’d like to add to the discussion? Let us know in the comments section below.
Cover Image Source: Nabeel Shk / Flickr
This content has been made in partnership with Knorr.