The possibility of their child being subject to any kind or any degree of sexual abuse has to be one of the worst nightmares for a parent and any responsible parent wants to do all that they can to make sure that their child never undergoes anything to damaging and detrimental ever in their lives.
Though parents will be as vigilant as they possibly can, they cannot physically supervise their child and monitor all their activities all of the time. One of the important ways to equip a child and to keep them safe from the possibility of sexual abuse, it is important to introduce the concept of Good Touch versus Bad Touch and explain what constitutes each.
What is good touch and what is bad touch?
A good or safe touch is anything that makes a child feel comfortable, good about themselves and happy. A warm and loving hug from a trusted person or holding hands with friends; anything that makes the child feel good is OK.
If there is something that confuses a child, seems ambiguous to them or makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable in any way, it is a bad touch and a child should know that no one is allowed to make the child feel this way.
Whether it is inappropriate touching of private parts or anywhere else on the body, showing of anything inappropriate to the child or even any kind of inappropriate talk with a child, the child should be made to understand that this intolerable and that they don’t have to take it.
Explain to the child that talking about, touching, or looking at certain areas of the body is never OK unless it is for reasons of hygiene; whether it is an adult, someone in a position of authority or anyone bigger that the child.
Also explain to the child that they are not to allow anything that makes them feel uncomfortable – this is easier said than done because children are often hesitant of upsetting or crossing an older person.
So tell the child that even if they cannot say ‘NO’ to that person they should always feel free to tell you about anything that made them feel bad, or dirty or uncomfortable.
When can a parent introduce the concept of good touch and bad touch?
The chat about good touch and bad touch should take place as early as possible in a child’s life. As soon as a parent knows that their child is able to grasp simple concepts, they should try and explain the concept in simple and unambiguous terms.
It is never too early to explain to a child how to safeguard their own self and a parent should ideally have the conversation more than once with their child.
As your child starts day care or your toddler is about to start playschool he or she can be told in very simple terms about the concept, while an older child will be able to understand more.
At each stage of life, the child should be told not only what a good and bad touch is; but also what to do in case there is a bad touch and to foster in them the confidence that there is someone always at hand to help and to unfailingly rescue that innocent child.