We lived in the 21st century. We consider ourselves as a highly developed, highly intellectual people, who are busy in exploring the latest technology every day. Nowadays, we have more options than ever before in creating new ways to live and fulfilled our personal and professional desires. But in spite of this development, we had something in our so-called Morden society that is so unfortunate. Have a look at these examples:
- April 2016: Five Teachers (and 60 since 2005) were arrested across the district in the Connecticut State for being accused for engaged in sexual misconduct with students.
- October 2016: A 10 Month Old girl died after allegedly being sexually abused by a 32-year-old man, recorded as the most severe case especially with the age of the victim.
- November 2016: An 83 year old convicted sex offender with aggravated sexual abuse of a child. He admitted to molesting several young girls in his neighbourhood.
Definitely, whenever we heard this kind of news…A sense of frustration and anger overwhelmed us. We felt an indistinct sadness and pain. We suddenly had a fear, insecurity and deep anxiety regarding the safety and well-being of our kids. Even the child sexual statistics are shocking.
According to Crimes against Children Research Center:
- 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse.
- During a one year period in the USA, 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized.
- Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of USA youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized.
We lived in an unpredictable world. We always had a situation that warns us of danger at every turn. And as a parent we get preoccupied with the “Safety first” thought for our kids. And we always take all mandatory steps for safety and well-being of our kids. But in spite of this, these traumatic incidences are happening in our society, these statistics are really scary for us. We feel worried, shocked and scared after each case that surfaces in media.
Of course, as a parent “Kids” are our first priority. And being a responsible parent we always try to teach everything to our kids that are related to their growth, development and safety with clear precision. We always tell them what is safe? And what is not safe? What is appropriate and what is not appropriate?
We teach them how to brush your teeth properly? How to cross the road with safety? Eating healthy food, regular reading…the list is endless. But I think “Body safety” is one of the most neglected (but one of the most important) subject that did not get enough attention from us.
Being a mom of two young girls, I also get afraid by these traumatic incidences. I was also in the same dilemma that how to talk them about it? Will they understand it properly? Of course, as a parent teaching the skills that help in preventing the “Child sexual abuse” is a daunting and complicated task. And we often make mistakes while doing it. Sometimes we forget. Sometimes we either avoid the subject or keep the finger crossed. Sometimes we did not have proper guidelines about how to teach kids about this important issue? But I think we have to get past that discomfort. I believe armed your kids with a proper knowledge and education is the only strongest weapon that can save them from being victimized.
Definitely, making a clear communication is the cornerstone of effective prevention. Children need accurate and precise information about child sexual abuse and confidence that parents will support them. Here I am sharing some common parenting mistakes that we all are committing unconsciously and also sharing some easy to adopt the solution for educating them.
Mistake 1– We teach them about all body parts but forget to mention about “private body parts”
I remember very well, I began to tell my girls about the different body parts, their functioning and importance…repeatedly since they were just 18 months old. And as a curious learner, they also answered me properly whenever I asked them. But I did not remember any incidence when I had talked about “private body parts” with them. I think it is the first most common mistake that we parents are doing “forget to mention about the private body parts with proper names”.
Solution– Yes! It may sound a little strange. But do not forget to teach your kids about “private body parts” with a proper name. This is the first step that will really help them to have that knowledge in case if they ever need to talk to us about anything related to it.
Mistake 2– We forget to mention why and in which manner the private body parts are really private?
This is the second common parenting mistake made by most of the parents. We often forget to tell them that their “private body parts” …..Sorry vagina, bottom, and breast in females and penis and bottom in males are private body parts. And nobody can touch or see or click a picture of their private body parts.
Solution– Since the age when they are too young, let children know that other people did not allow to touching or looking at their private parts unless they (only mom, dad, doctor and caretaker, if permitted by parents) allowed to touch them for cleaning it or to provide any sort of medical care. Other than that if someone tries to touch or see their private parts they should tell a trusted adult as soon as possible.
Mistakes 3- As a parent, we often get hesitate to talk about this sensitive issue with our kids
Yes! It is quite unusual. As a responsible parent we teach them all good and important things regarding their safety and well-being but “Body part safety” is a subject that makes us a little hesitate and nervous.
Solution– do not get hesitate. I think when we teach our own kids being straightforward is usually the best approach. Speak from a calm, casual and loving frame of mind when making these conversations with your child. Books, education videos are the most invaluable sources when it comes to answering the tricky questions. Use appropriate words, keep the conversation light and easy. And repeat them often, until you feel confident that your child has learnt all those things which you want to teach them.
Mistake 4- Using the phrase “Good touch, bad touch”
For many years “Good touch, bad touch” has been preached for quite often as a mean of teaching and protecting the children from the “Child sexual abuse”. But it is quite confusing for kids.
Solution- Please do not forget that bad touch may feel “good” in a certain way. It may tickle or may create a feel good sensation. Children may experience a good physical feeling by touching sexually as an involuntary physiological reaction. Certified domestic violence specialist Natalie A. Cherri suggested rather than focusing on “good touch, bad touch” or any other catchy phrases, it is better to categorise it as “Safe and unsafe touch”. It is also important to point out the fact clearly to children that even “unsafe touch” can feel good. And it does not mean that they are to blame and should not tell anything to their parents.
Mistake 5- We forget to teach “Body safety lesson” in proper manner
This is the last common parenting mistake that most of the parents do unconsciously. “Knowing the prevention tools” is the best step that can help them a lot. It is the most common occurrence that has been observed in the cases of “child sexual abuse”, kids did not what is wrong happening with them? Or in case if they know, they did not know how to prevent it? Or what are the actions that need to be taken at that time? So as a preventive measure tell them:
- Their body is their own. No one else has the right to touch it.
- You should also not touch someone else’s private body parts.
- Shout, stop or say no if someone touched on your private body parts in an inappropriate manner.
- No one allowed taking the pictures of their private body parts.
- Do not trust any stranger.
- Do not take any candy or other eatable things from the stranger.
- Do not go alone with anybody in alone places (like in a park) even if they insist.
- Never keep secrets that make you feel uncomfortable or bad. Only keep happy surprises.
Apart from these “preventive measures” also teach them the “required action” such as:
- Do not get afraid if something wrong had happened with them.
- Always narrate their situation to teacher, parents or any trusted adult.
- Ask for help, without any hesitation.
- Keep a deep trust in your family. They will always help you and will save you from any difficult situation.
Here is a great educational video that can help you teach the “kids body part safety lesson” and will help you in armed them with the skills that can prevent the child sexual abuse.
So these were the strategies that have helped me in my teaching path. These were the steps that had removed my sense of fear and impurity up to a certain extent.