Friday, February 9, 2018

Modern parenting battles: Teaching your toddlers about others touching their body

As parents, we always hope that nothing wrong happens to our kids. But that's a real gamble in the big bad world that we live in. As times are getting tougher to deal with, safety is a huge concern for each and every person. While we are supposedly progressing, the reality is more like the scene in a huge jungle. Each one of us is just a prey to another. Imagine, someone is always waiting to pounce on you. Scary it is! But that's how vulnerable we are. And then there is another species that walks among us. They target the most innocent and easy to attack- the young toddlers who can neither understand that they have been molested, nor clearly communicate it to their parents.

We are responsible to educate our toddlers about this. It's never too soon to help them understand that nobody is supposed to touch their private parts except for those who are really supposed to. It isn't wise to wait until the kids grow up. So yes, as soon as your child starts talking, please start teaching them about this. Now, the big question is what exactly to teach them and how!

There are 3 things that mainly need to be taught to the little ones-
1) Who all are authorized to touch them for cleaning their private parts,
2) What should they do if someone else tries to touch them, and most importantly,
3) They should be able to inform you that someone tried to touch them.

How to teach them this can be really simple. Whenever you clean your toddler down there, whether it's bath time or loo/poop time, start teaching them not to touch their private parts. Tell them that only mom is supposed to touch you here to clean you. You can gradually add the names of other people like dad, grandparent(s), nanny/maid who actually clean them. Try to keep this list as short as possible so as to avoid confusing your child. It may take a couple of days for your child to understand this but keep repeating this sentence time and again to reinforce the thought. Once the child starts understanding it, ask her/him to list the people. Keep correcting the child until the list is perfect.

Once they are thorough with the list, teach them that if anyone else tries to touch them then they should say "no" or "stop". Repeat this to reinforce the thought and also question them to check. Then try and ask what should be told to to see if the child has understood this step.

And finally, once they absorb these two things, tell them that they should inform you when someone tries to touch them. It is very important that they shouldn't be scared to inform you when something wrong happens to them. Most predators scare the victims of consequences while doing wrong to them. The saddest part is children are most scared of being punished by their parents while mentioning anything to them. They are too small to differentiate between being a victim and being naughty. Unless you are aware of someone eyeing your little one with malicious intentions, prevention of an incident will be difficult.

Never ignore your child's statements concerning such things. Never react in the heat of the moment. Most children make up stories for their imaginations get wings sooner or later. Try to verify their statements by patiently cross-questioning them about the same incident. If you figure out that the story is just an imagination, gently dissuade the child to say such things unless something has really happened. You don't want so many false alarms that you stop taking the child seriously when something might be really noteworthy. 

Lastly, although we always try to make sure that the child is in our view at all times, it is very obvious that one cannot be completely vigilant at all times. At such moments, we end up resorting to our families and extended families also at times. However, it's mostly these insiders who try and take advantage of an opportunity. So before relying on anyone, please ensure that you keep a check intermittently so as to avoid any untoward incident.

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