Good Touch VS Bad Touch: A Few Ways To Ensure Your Child’s Protection When You’re Not Around
As parents, we always worry about the safety of our children and try to use all methods to ensure it when we’re around! When they’re in the sun we make sure they’re wearing sunscreen, when it’s cold we make them wear layers of warm clothes, when they go out to play we make sure they’re wearing closed shoes and the proper attire- but what about protecting them from potential sexual predators when we’re not around? Even the thought of it makes your skin crawl. But the reality is that sexual predators could be anywhere and there are only so many places where you can actively be present to keep an eye on your child. The best method is to teach them from a young age the rules of Good Touch and Bad Touch. Here are a few steps you should take to ensure your child’s safety!
BREAK THE ICE: COMMUNICATE
The most prevalent problem in South Asian societies is that parents never give their child the “sex-talk”, talking about our genitals is such a taboo that growing up those children end up navigating their own way into discovering what these completely natural processes and parts are. Try to move past your discomfort and put your child’s safety first. As a parent, break the ice with your child. Children are fast learners; when you feel like your child is discovering his/her own body make sure you communicate with them how these are their ‘private parts’ and teach them what they are called. As they grow up keep adding to their knowledge bank. It should be okay for you to teach your son about periods or your daughter about male puberty! DON’T LET THEM LEARN A DISTORTED VERSION FROM A COMPLETE STRANGER.
THE UNDERWEAR RULE
For toddlers, you can begin by telling them the underwear rule. Anything covered by the underwear is private! The parts beneath the underwear are what NOBODY is allowed to touch, not even you. As a method, keep asking them from time to time what the underwear rule is, so your child knows if God-forbid there is an occasion of Bad Touch to inform you.
MAKE A NOISE! SHOUT!
This brings us to the third part, make sure your child knows on the occasion of a bad touch to shout for help and run away from the harasser! Teach your child to call out anytime he/she feels like someone is giving him/her a Bad Touch- Never tell your child to keep such things under the wraps. The best way to protect your child is not by protecting the sexual predator as well! Call them out and punish them. Show your child that if the situation ever comes to this he/she will be saved!
I cannot say this enough- teach your child what consent means and ensure that you and everyone around him/her respects it. This means teaching your child that they are the BOSS of their own body! Stop forcing them to hug/kiss strangers. It doesn’t matter if you personally know this said person, by letting your child be touched like that without their consent makes them think it’s okay for anyone to do it. There have been so many times when I’ve seen parents tell their children: “beta aunty/uncle ko kiss karke dekhao, unko hug do”- even when the child seems reluctant to do so. Teach them about consent, let them know that they have the power to say NO.
The best way to ensure your child’s safety is to make sure you are up to-date with everything as well. Read up on such topics and share what you have learnt with fellow parents as well. Buy children’s books and read them with your kids.
Here are some links and videos that I found to help you begin: