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The recent sexual assault on a 6 year old child in Bangalore, while in school, has created shock waves among parents, and raises again the need for the Good Touch, Bad Touch talk.
I am so furious, ashamed, scared and miserable while writing this post after reading about a 6 year old child being raped in Bangalore. The worst part is that it happened in school!
I am furious because I can’t do anything, I am ashamed because I belong to a nation that boasts about a fake culture, I am scared because I am a mother to a daughter, I am miserable because it’s the 21st century and ‘Woman’ is still insecure. It’s beyond my imagination to think about the pain, frustration and helplessness the little one and her family must be going through.
At this point of time, I realize that it is worth teaching, educating your kids about child abuse. Our Indian society for some reason has always preferred being closed, reserved about certain practices. For instance, how many parents would prefer openly discussing about ‘sex’ with their adolescents?
I belong to a very conventional family and my parents never spoke anything about this or rather in those days, one never felt the necessity of doing so. Times have changed, and life is full of insecurity and risks. What makes sense is to change and bring in that change within you first. Why not be the ‘change’ first yourself and then start propagating it?
It is difficult to strike a conversation with your kids/adolescents about a topic like child abuse or sex education; well, it has to be as these things aren’t as straightforward as a discussion about their favourite foods, movies, sports and so on. But, a stitch in time saves nine – why wait till it happens?
There are studies that show that a 4 year old can understand the difference between Good touch and Bad touch and understand what actions are sexual abuse. I would like to help make it even more simple.
1. Always be open to your child and make sure he knows that you are there when he needs you
2. It’s not about age, it’s about treating them as individual personalities. Treating them with dignity would enable them to differentiate between right and wrong
3. Have faith in them and always listen to their complaints rather than underestimating them
Parents can actually decide to speak about this together or separately as per their comfort levels but a child would feel more cared for if both of them do this together. Literally, mark a day in your diary/calendar/reminder for this discussion.
Be prepared yourself and don’t hesitate to use the exact terms while describing situations. Young kids are fearless at this age and are unafraid to speak about matters which would make the adults uncomfortable.
There are 3 different types of touch, to make clear to a child:
Good touch: A hug, cuddle, a friendly pat, a friendly hand shake are few examples. Anything which feels good and brings in a sense of security, happiness and cheer is a good touch
Bad touch: Any violent act as hitting, kicking, pushing and biting that hurts, even if it is not sexual
Sexually abusive bad touch : A touch that is against ones’s will/wish and sexual in nature, such as ‘touching the private parts’ and leaving one feeling uncomfortable.
Let your kids know that they can and should speak up when they feel uncomfortable about anything. It is essential for them to know that speaking up would make a difference. Inculcate that confidence in them where they can decide good and bad.
It is necessary to say ‘NO’ or refuse anything which is a cause of discomfort. A ‘NO’ is as valid and acceptable as a ‘YES’ in many situations. Often, family members are trusted but teach your child to point out if anyone has misbehaved with him/her.
It’s good to be a part of their day to day life. Make a habit of striking a conversation about their activities at day care, school, park etc. With both the parents working and little support, the child may end up spending more time at nursery/daycare, with friends. One can stay involved with them by conversing about their friends, the games they play, they topics they talk/discuss with friends.
There are perverts who have the dirty mindset of touching one’s body in public places. This could happen while standing in a queue for the bus, on the bus when you are seated away from your child and he is seated besides a stranger etc. So teach them to be more aware of such incidents in public places.
It’s a shame to actually overload them with this at an age which is meant to be carefree, at an age where innocence is so precious but if this is what needs to be done, then there is no choice left to us.
Leaving kids on their own to understand ‘something complex’ for their age leaves them baffled. They eventually will discover it one day but why wait until its too late?
This small talk can make a big difference. Parenting is a challenge and this is a job where you are untrained for it, needs no qualification, and is unpaid but brings with it a great responsibility.
Pic credit: Imagebang (Used under a CC license)
I have always loved writing and strongly believe that writing can create social awareness . I
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