Father talking to daughter
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Body safety talk: Five quick tips for parents of young children

There’s only one way to help children understand the concept of body safety and sexual abuse. Talk to them in their language. Yet, given the complexity of the topic, the most prepared of us can slip. It’s the kind of talk, which, if not done in an easy manner, can put fears in their little minds. So relax, be confident and talk to your child. Here are some handy tips:

1. Boss of My Body

Introduce the 'Boss of My Body' concept to your child and that they can say NO to any unwanted physical touch from ANY person. The message sent to the child here is – no one can touch, hug or kiss them if they don’t want to. Also, do not force your children to hug or kiss an uncle or an aunt or a grandparent out of respect. Rather speak on your child’s behalf and tell your relatives in a firm and respectful manner that they should let the child respond in the manner he or she feels comfortable with. According to the World Health Organisation, much of the sexual abuse is inflicted on children by family members or other people in close proximity to the children.

2. My Super Team

Another simple yet effective concept is that of 'My Super Team'. Tell your child that he/she has a Super Team at home and school and that if they ever feel worried, scared and/or unsure about anything, they can share it with their Super Team –  five people you think the child would be most comfortable with. Choose the team with your child. It could include you, the grandparents and the class teacher. Read in for any signs of discomfort in the child about including someone in their Super Team – this could be a warning. Let each member of the team know the concept so that they are ready to respond if the child comes to them with a concern. Instill the confidence in your child that the Super Team will always believe them. The child should look at this Super Team as their go to for all the problems.

3. No Secrets Policy

Tell your child that s/he should never keep secrets from you. Also, don’t berate your kids if they come and share something with you – be it an eraser they sneaked from someone or venting out about a fight they have had with another child at school. Understand the world from his/her perspective. Regularly ask your child about the teachers, others kids and bhaiya, didis at the school. Build their trust so that feel comfortable in confiding into you – whatever be the issue.

4. No Touching of Private Parts

First, explain your child what private parts are, if you have not done so yet. Tell them why they are called 'private' and why no one should be allowed to see or touch the private parts. Explain your child that no one, (not even you) can touch their private parts and in the same way your child should not touch anyone else’s private parts. If anyone asks your child to touch private parts or talks about them, they must inform their Super Team. 

5. No Respect for Force

We regularly tell our children to respect teachers, bhaiyas, didis and other children in school or the neighbourhood. Make sure your kids do not misunderstand this and fall prey to bullying and harassment. So the message to your child should be clear – while they must respect others, NO one can force them to do anything. If someone does, they must tell their Super Team.

There is obviously no efficacious method to protect children from sexual or other abuse, but making your child aware and giving them some simple tools can help reduce this risk.

The persons in the picture are models. 

Love Matters celebrates all relationships which are equal and pleasurable and between consenting adults. Child sexual abuse does not fulfill any of the above criteria. It is a crime, an act of abuse and violence. If any such thoughts or questions come to anybody's mind they must seek counsel or advise. Feel free to write to us on the Love Matters Discussion Board or on our Facebook page to discuss this issue further.

 

 

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