In addition to being raised in a sexually healthy and shame-free environment, children need to learn some basic rules when it comes to their body.
Who Does Your Body Belong To?
Try asking your child this question: Who does your body belong to? Many children will have to think about it for a minute. Some may respond with answers like “It belongs to you daddy.” Children need to grow up knowing their body belongs to them, and nobody else. Their body is theirs and nobody has a right to use it in a way they don’t like. While parents and caregivers may assist a child with his or her body, the child ultimately has the final say when it comes to recreational use of their bodies.
Your Personal Parts
Teach children that the area covered by their swimsuit is especially theirs. While you should not be ashamed of that area, and its OK to talk about our personal parts or in some cases be naked in that area, nobody should touch you there without a good reason, and never when it’s a secret.
Children Know Best
When a child gets sick, the only one who feels it is them. If they get hurt, they are the ones who experience the pain. Children have a hard time with this concept, and often expect everyone to automatically know what they might be thinking or feeling. Try asking these questions:
- When you get a tummy ache, who feels it?
- If you are feeling sad, does everyone know why you are sad?
- When you get hungry, do I get hungry too? Or do you have to tell me you’re hungry?
- What am I thinking about right now? Can you really know unless I tell you?
Explain to children that they are the only ones who know what is going on inside them. Only they can feel if something is being done to hurt them or make them feel uncomfortable. It is their job to speak up about it, just as they would tell you if they were hungry.
Respect a Child’s Right to Their Body
Make sure you are respecting children’s right to their body as much as possible in everyday life. Make a habit of asking permission prior to assisting them with dressing, undressing, etc. If you are tickling them or playing with them in a certain way and they ask you to stop, then stop. Even with things you know they enjoy, such as back rubs or hugs, ask their permission first. These small things will reinforce the concept that their body belongs to them.
About Private Parts
Throughout our literature, we refer to children’s genital region as their “personal parts.” We avoid the word private, because it implies a secretive nature. Whether you use the word “personal” or “private” isn’t so much the issue, so long as kids know this: While their genitals have restrictions when it comes to touching, those parts are open for discussion and OK to talk about with anyone. There are no parts of their body that are secret or bad to talk about. All body talk is good talk.
My Body Book A printable PDF
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