When done properly, touch training can be an effective way to protect children from abuse. But most parents make a few crucial mistakes that can render their efforts useless. First and foremost, while good and bad touches are frequently talked about, a third and more important touch is often ignored, the confusing touch. Chances are that a molesters advances are unlikely to register as either good or bad, but rather, confusing or different. Secondly, adults often don’t give children any context for the different types of touches, so they remain abstract concepts with little practical meaning. Cover these gaps, and you’ll give your child a strong defense against sexual abuse.
Teach children that a good touch is something that makes them feel good inside, like a hug or kiss from someone they love. It makes them feel safe and comfortable. It is a touch that they like, and would choose to do on their own.
A bad touch is a touch that you do not like. It makes you feel funny inside and uncomfortable. It may seem abnormal, or feel like a touch that you think someone shouldn’t be doing. It may hurt physically, like someone giving you an injury, or it may hurt your feelings. If anyone, no matter who it is, touches you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable you should ask them to stop right away.
A confusing touch is a touch that we don’t understand. It is probably a touch that nobody else has given you before. You might be confused as to whether it is a good touch or a bad touch, or it might feel good and uncomfortable at the same time. If someone ever touches us in a way that is confusing, we should ask them to stop, and check with our parents or another grown up to make sure it’s OK.
NOT Just Our Hands
Remind kids that touching isn’t restricted to just our hands…touches can be with our mouth, our tongue, our feet, our belly, or any other part of the body. Moreover, the feeling we get from touches isn’t just with our bodies; good and bad touches can be touches that make our brains feel good or bad as well.
Touches Are Never Secret
No matter how someone touches us, it should never be a secret. Touches are always for the whole world to see, and the only reason someone would want to keep touches a secret is if they are doing something wrong.
Sit down before bed one night, and have a talk with your kids about the different touches. Ask them to give you examples of times they felt either a good, bad, or confusing touch, and share with them examples of times you’ve felt different touches, either as a child or an adult.
Books & Printables to teach kids about touches:
All About Touches A printable PDF Book
Who Would Give You Bad Touches A printable PDF book
A World of Touches coloring sheet
More Information Abuse Prevention:
- Step 1: Raising Sexually Healthy Children
- Step 2: Healthy Body Awareness
- Step 3: Teaching Children to Trust Their Instincts
- Step 4: All About Touches
- Step 5: Everyday Rules
- Step 6: A Child’s Rights
- Step 7: Empowering Your Children
- Step 8: Coaching & Bribes
- Step 9: Proper People Perceptions
- Step 10: Defeating Secrecy
- Step 11: Asking the Right Questions
- Step 12: Making Your Child A Hard Target