Life is tough, especially when you are dependent on others and do not have any idea what things happening around you mean. Some of us have our own experiences, ones which are hard to be shared with anyone. It is hard because you don’t know what to share. One such experience could be childhood sexual abuse. In India, parents have never been comfortable discussing the value of good Touch and bad Touch with their kids, and this is one reason why the prevalence of child sex abuse existed and continues to happen. But with rapidly changing times, parents are becoming more aware and open to discussing the issues with their children. If you have a child and are wondering how to take that step, read this article to find out how you can talk about Good Touch vs Bad Touch with your child. Read on!
What is Good Touch?
Before getting into the difference between good and bad Touch, it is imperative to understand what is good Touch first. Good Touch is the Touch that cares for them, a touch which is necessary for the child’s safety and health, which makes them feel safe.
Examples- A relative offering a child a hug where a child happily accepts, a parent/ guardian changing child’s nappy and cleaning the diaper, child sitting on someone’s lap while the person reads a story, a doctor caring for child’s injury.
What is Bad Touch?
Bad Touch is any intentional touch, not necessary for the child’s health. Any touch on the genitals or bottom or chest that doesn’t make them feel safe makes the child feel scared.
Examples- Anybody touching a child’s genitals if they are not doing something necessary to check child’s health, anyone touches a child and asks them not to tell anyone, hugging the child even though he doesn’t accept it, two children playing together where one of them doesn’t like it, but another one is having fun.
It is evident from the discussion that good Touch is what makes us feel good about ourselves, makes us happy and wanted. Bad Touch, on the other hand, only makes us uncomfortable and scared. Therefore, the child must know when to say a “No”. If he knows when exactly something is wrong, his lifetime of discomfort, unhealthy relationships and abuse can be stopped.
Teaching your child Good Touch vs Bad Touch
There is no right or wrong time for teaching your child this concept; do it when you feel the time is right. Parents feel the discomfort in talking about sex and Touch with their children. The child must know about it before it is too late.
There are three crucial things you can teach your child:
1. Teach children the correct names of their body parts- we teach our child the names of their body parts but do not include the genitals. Children often find it hard to tell that someone has sexually abused them because they do not know the words to use. Learning the correct words for private body parts gives children the words when they are telling someone. It also makes easy for them to understand that it is okay to talk about it when they have been sexually abused
When you are teaching them about different body parts, consider using the correct words for private body parts along with the usual “tummy”, “nose”, “ears”, “tongue” etc.
If your child is too small, let us say, 3-4 years old, you can name the private areas as “danger” zones and normal body parts as “safe” zones. Teach them that it is absolutely not okay to touch the danger zones and they must scream out “NO” if somebody touches this zone and tell their parents.
2. Teach your child that he is the “boss.”
For your children to believe that, you have to tell them that they are in full control of their body. If your child doesn’t want to be touched in some area of his body other than private, respect them.
Also, do not insist that your child receives or gives hugs and kisses from your friends and relatives if they do not wish to. Make it clear to the relatives as well that you are teaching your child good and bad Touch, and they should not be offended if your child behaves oddly.
3. Teach your child the three kinds of touches
A) Safe Touch- to keep the child safe, healthy, clean, hugging and showing love.
B) Unsafe Touch- touches that hurt the child’s feelings and body. Examples- hitting, pushing, kicking and pinching.
C) Unwanted Touches- Safe touches that a child doesn’t want at that particular moment. They should not be forced either.
Safety Rules your child should know!!
It is not okay if;
1. Someone touches your private body parts
2. You touch someone’s private parts.
3. Someone touches their private parts in front of you
4. Someone asks you to take your clothes off except the doctor that too for inspection
5. You are telling someone to touch their private parts and take their clothes off.
6. Not okay if someone takes your photos and videos without clothes and shows you videos of someone without clothes.
7. If somebody forces yourself onto you
What should you tell your child to do when somebody touches in the wrong way?
1. Say NO! Tell the person you don’t like it and ask them to stop.
2. Runaway from there if somebody touches you
3. Run to your parents, call somebody they trust. You have not done anything wrong. It is not your mistake.
4. Do not believe the threats of that bad person, instead tell somebody you trust about what happened instantly.
5. Do not keep any secrets that make you uncomfortable. Keep telling people if one doesn’t believe you because someone else will.
6. Do everything that you can to stay away from this person.
This was about Good vs Bad Touch and how you can teach your child this concept along with some ground rules.