Your kids will soon move out from the confines of your home and be out in society. Thus, once your kid joins the school, teach them about body safety, tell them to own their body, and recognize the bad touches. As parents, we always want to guard them, but that’s practically impossible, thus empowering them to protect themselves and become strong individuals.
The right age to begin sex education is between 5-7 years. With the increase in child abuse cases, it is necessary to educate kids about body safety rules and empower them to protect themselves and create a safe environment.
Let’s start this article with a big ‘YES.’ Every child must be trained to protect themselves.
Just as you teach your kids the importance of following traffic rules, the need for washing hands, and the importance of chewing food, it is equally important to educate them about body safety and sexual abuse.
While we all agree that Kids must enjoy their childhood freely, the need of the modern-day is to make our kids smart so that they can protect themselves from everything malicious.
Why Should Parents Talk About Sensitive Matters Openly?
Thanks to the new media that has enlightened people about the need for starting sex education at an early age. As kids, many of us have gone through physical or mental harassment; we failed to express or even comprehend the event. Most of us blamed ourselves for the event and, we grew more sceptical and fearful over time.
As parents, none of us wants this to happen to our kids. We are open to talk and, we want them to think about us as friends and share their fears with us rather than live with them for the rest of their lives.
A good strategy is to start talking to your kids frankly about their body parts and help them feel positive about their bodies. As kids grow, their curiosity about different topics also grows. As parents, if you build a culture of open discussion at home, then your kids will share their curiosity with you rather than finding answers elsewhere. As parents, you should be the first source of information for your kids, be it about sex or any other matter.
How Should You Start?
Most parents have inhibitions while discussing sexual topics. Thus, they struggle to find the starting point. Here are few approaches that will help you to navigate your communication smoothly and joyfully.
Teach Them To Own Their Body
As kids grow, they get more conscious about their bodies. As adults, we sometimes play a very bitter role in making kids uncomfortable about their bodies. Words like ‘sit properly, cover-up’ etc., instill a sense of alienation with the body. Kids feel that something is wrong with their bodies; thus, they get these instructions strictly.
The correct practice is making kids understand the importance of body safety. Tell them that it is only they who own their bodies and nobody else has the right to touch them. Teach them to speak up when they see someone doing anything wrong. For instance, while playing, if someone hurts them, teach them to talk about it. This could be the starting point.
You could play fun games to inculcate this habit in small kids, like whenever they are pushed or touched, ask them to become their favorite superhero and boldly say, ‘Stop it’s my body, you cannot touch.’ Teach them how to be firm without sounding rude. With these fun techniques, your kid will take learn to protect his/ her body.
Teach Them The Difference Between Affection And Force
While you teach them about body safety, it is essential to make them experience the difference between affection and force. Teach them that hugs and kisses on non-private parts from immediate family members are permissible, whereas touch in private body parts from anybody is force. Once the child understands the difference, they will be trained to handle any situation.
Understand Body- Safety Signals
Your body signals you in various ways when it feels unsafe in the presence of someone. So teach your kids about these early warning signs.
- Butterfly in stomach
- Dry Mouth
- Wanting to Cry
- Feeling shaky
- Sweaty hands
All these signs indicate that the kid is scared or feeling unsafe in the company of someone. Tell your kid that if he/she experiences any of these signs, they must immediately leave that place and reach out to someone with whom they feel safe. Also, motivate them to share these experiences with their family or teachers.
Teach Them Good Vs Bad Touch
Once your kids know about the different body parts, it is crucial to tell them about which body parts are private and fall under the no-touch zone. In a fun way, tell them that they firmly say stop to anybody who touches their private parts and immediately run from that person.
Also, we live in the 21st century, so do not force your kids to hug, kiss elders, or touch their feet; let them make their choices. If they feel safe with someone, they will automatically form a free bond.
Good Secrets And Bad Secrets
While you teach them about the good and bad touch, it is essential to teach them about what they can keep as secrets and what must never be kept as secrets.
Mom planning a surprise for Dad is a good secret.
Dad planning to buy a present for Mom is a good secret.
Elder brother/ sister planning a party for elders is a good secret.
Any secret that makes you excited and happy is good.
A friend tells you to steal a pencil from someone for fun is a bad secret
Someone tried to touch forcefully is a bad secret.
Any instance that made you unhappy or fearful is a bad secret.
The Final Word:
Finally, the purpose of doing all this is to imbibe the Body Safety Mantra in your kid’s mind without making it feel serious.
Paint it like a poster and stick it in your child’s bedroom.
- My body is my body and, it only belongs to me.
- I can share any secrets with my Mom and four other people I trust
- I know how to identify the warning signs
- I keep no secrets that cause me harm
- I know what good touch and bad touch are.