How do I talk with my child about the unthinkable?

  • Published
  • By Tiffany Esparza
  • Family Advocacy

Children are so vulnerable and innocent and as parents, we wouldn’t want someone to corrupt that.  Sometimes it may be hard to address appropriate or inappropriate touches with our children as we may have experienced something in our childhood that this conversation may stir up.  Regardless, it is crucial to have this discussion with your children and empower them to be an advocate for themselves when you are not around.  Children as young as 3-4 years old can be introduced to and start to understand the basic concept of “Good touch, Bad touch and Confusing touches.”  Isn’t that incredible! 

Sexual abuse is not bias, it is prevalent in all cultures, racial, economic statuses, and ages. When discussing molesters, unfortunately it is someone the child knows.  It is beneficial to not force your child to hug someone or force affection onto a child.  This allows your child to trust their own feelings, which is very important as they develop. It will also empower them to say NO if they don’t feel right about something. 

If you think your child may be uncomfortable talking about good touch, bad touch and confusing touches, think again. Children usually embrace this information as it makes them feel they have ownership of their bodies, which they have every right to. 

When speaking about good touch, bad touch, and confusing touches, make sure you are using appropriate language for the age.  Some parents decide to teach their kids early on the correct name for their body parts which may help as your child grows to be able to talk with you comfortably later on.  You will want to keep the conversation light and easy.  You can incorporate it into everyday activities, like during bath time or potty time.  Try using the “Swim suit rule:” If the swimsuit covers it, it’s a private area and no one should be seeing or touching that area.  Be cautious though, as most predators who have an on-going relationship with the child (teacher, coach, relative, clergy, etc.) will not begin by touching the child in the sensitive areas, but will begin by rubbing their back or stroking the hair.  Therefore, as you talk about the swim suit area, also discuss that ANY touch or space intrusion that makes the child uncomfortable is not okay.  Lastly, the mouth should be considered a private area as well even though it is not covered by the swimsuit. 

Before you go talk with your child, please make sure you yourself understand what inappropriate touching means and are comfortable talking about it yourself.  There are many article and books that can also assist you in this process.  Family Advocacy will also be having a class to reiterate, discuss and elaborate on the concepts in this article June 23, 2016 from 1130-1230.  Call us to sign up at 940-676-2271.