Megha and her four year old had a deal of hugs on completing tasks. Every time Megha found her daughter completing a task she would give her a big hug. Hugs and hi-fives had become a favourite for her little one.
One morning, while sipping a cup of tea Megha reads a disturbing headline: 3-year-old Sexually Assaulted By Uncle.
Isn’t it horrifying?
Stories of abuse have taken a toll in today’s times. Blazing headlines from – ‘18 months old raped in Kolkata’ to ‘10 year old’s sketch send rapist uncle to jail’ are finding place in the papers at a pace that can shake one’s faith in humanity and terrify every parent. By an overwhelming majority, in most of these cases young children are assaulted by someone who is part of the household – uncle, cook, nanny, etc.
Being a mother of two young daughters, it was alarming for Megha to read such a horrific instance. It brought her to realize the importance of talking to the girls about being weary of an unhealthy touch. But a thought that echoed in her head was ‘aren’t they too young to be able to differentiate between right and wrong?’
While pre-schoolers undoubtedly are too young to clearly differentiate between right and wrong, they can be educated in the most simplest of ways to realise what makes them comfortable and uncomfortable. Below are some key points that can help every parent in taking necessary precaution of teaching their little ones the differences in good and bad touch.
1) Familiarize them to their body parts from an early age of 1.5-2 years
2) Talk easy – choose a soft conversational tone that causally imparts the message
3) Clearly explain their private parts and that nobody is allowed to touch these
4) Clearly define the limits of politeness with strangers who make them feel uncomfortable or touch them in a bad way. Ensure to teach them to speak out loudly and confidently if anyone does so
5) Avoid unnecessary touch – drift away from traditions of the society and don’t force your child to hug/sit in the lap of every elder they greet
6) Reinforce the safe circle to your child
7) Most importantly, have conversations with your child every day and learn about their day to understand their reactions and interactions with different people
The safety of our children is undoubtedly the most important aspect of our life as parents. Let us empower them with the basic means of protecting themselves and communicating/sharing with us anything that makes them uncomfortable.