Updated: Nov 9, 2018
They say your childhood shapes your adulthood. What you are as an adult is more or less a reflection of your childhood experiences. Now, we know how problems for children go beyond the emotional and physical realms. Making young kids a target for sexual harassment is not so hard considering the mental vulnerability of that age. We are also very well aware of the hike in the statistics for child sexual abuse of all degrees. Today, given the situation of the country in terms of sexual crime against both genders and all ages, the urgency to educate them on the subject has also increased.
Adults are still aware of the existence of sexual abuse from all angles but children whose intellect hasn’t even developed yet don’t know nor can they be reeled into this hard reality so early. However, to save them from being exploited at an age where all they should be focusing on is play and positivity, educating them on the subject is important. Now, giving them thorough knowledge on the same is not possible nor is it advisable. A way in which we can at least teach them how to differentiate between a good touch and a bad touch while telling them why it’s important is our responsibility. Sowing that seed of safety in their mind at that age is the way to save them from sexual, physical and in turn, emotional abuse, which they might take into their adulthood.
TO START WITH
Of course, that has to be done by withholding the graphic details and by not making it sound too intimidating for the child. Serious conversations of such nature can be hard to be initiated and comprehended by the child. Hence, they should be merged with a slightly laid-back vibe and not entirely serious to start with.
TEACHING THEM WHERE THE LINE EXISTS
Affectionate touch can be bad too and for kids, bad touch does usually come disguised under a lovable hand. In our culture where social relations with family are given utmost importance, it is easy for kids to be lured in with a bad intention. Touch that is of a sexual nature always carries a kind of discomfort and uneasiness with it. Kids are able to realize that too but they may not be able to point it out. They need to be taught that they own their body and any kind of touch that feels forced and makes them feel uncomfortable is wrong and shouldn’t be welcomed.
EDUCATING THEM ON THEIR BODY
Kids are supposed to be fed with general knowledge on their body, their private parts and more importantly about their ownership of the body. They need to be taught how no one is allowed to touch them in their private body parts or anywhere if it’s uncomfortable.
OPEN SPACE FOR COMMUNICATION
A child’s guardians need to build and maintain that bond with them where they feel like they can confide in the parents and talk to them about any sort of discomfort that they might have felt with anyone. This space can be developed with friendship, familiarity and comfort, which can happen with regular and close conversations with the child.
Nevertheless, nothing can be conveyed well and in a positive light to a child unless it’s done with compassion and understanding, which is to be kept in mind when talking about bad touch and good touch.
Written and Edited by - Akshi Ranka