Being a parent is a blessing in all, but it comes with its fair share of responsibilities. The world we live in is far from simple, and protecting our children from some of its dangers is one of the main roles as parents we must take.
Not so long ago, parents would find it very uncomfortable to discuss what was thought of as being “unpleasant” subjects with their children, and it was believed that children would not encounter these topics until they were adults.
Times are changing, and we live in a fast-paced society, where children are not only well informed, but also information travels at the pace of light. Please know that if you do not discuss taboo parents with your children, they will hear about it from elsewhere, and at that time they may not be emotionally equipped to deal with it, or the information and advice they may be receiving may not be complete or accurate.
Parents please know it is okay to discuss anything with your children. If you don’t educate them, who will? Every child should be made aware of danger signs, and it is the parent’s duty to make children wavy of warning signs, and potential risks around them.
That is why parents have to “bite the bullet” and establish a formula to discuss certain taboo subjects with their children in a manner they would understand. For example, if the child is young, the easier the discussion on the subject will need to be, with simpler and narrow facts, installing the right amount of fear, which does not damage their little minds, but at the same time acts as a signal of warning.
One such topic that should be tackled from early years is the topic of sexual harassment and abuse. First of all, teach your kids the right names of their body parts, even the private parts. This is essential because children find it hard to talk about sexual abuse, because they don’t know the correct names of the body part and because they do not feel comfortable to talk about it.
Explain to your children there are three kinds of touch- Safe touch- these are kinds of touch which make kids feel safe and cared for- this could be a pat on the back, a hug or arms around the shoulder. Unsafe touch, which hurts the child’s bodies and feelings, such as hitting, pinching and kicking, teach your kids that this is not okay. The kind of touch that all parents should emphasis on as a warning is “Unwanted touch”- which is when the child does not want to be touched, and is not comfortable. Help your kids practise saying “no” in a strong, yet polite voice. This will teach children to set personal boundaries.
Teach your kids that there are three parts in the body, which they should not let anyone touch, and it is not okay if someone does-, the chest area, between their legs and their bottoms.
Let your children know, that besides for the purpose of cleaning or keeping them healthy, which may be you and your partner cleaning, bathing or changing them (to keep them clean); and your family doctor, who in your presence may touch them (to keep them healthy), anyone else should not be allowed to teach them in those three body parts. In addition, teach your kids that they are boss of there bodies. Do not insist or force them to receive or give hug or kisses from relatives and friends, if they wish to not do so. This teaches them to know it is okay to say no to other people touching them.
Educate your kids what to do if someone does touch them in the wrong way. Teach them
- To say “NO” and to tell the person that you do not want to be touched
- To run away fast!
- Never stay alone with that person ever again
- Make they know they did nothing wrong
- Tell someone you trust, maybe your parents, what happened
- Speak about the dos and don’ts with your children so much that they are prepared and do not feel threatened enough to be quiet if something does happen
- Always believe your children, and hear them out, if they discuss such an incident.