Recently, most likely due to the Penn State sex abuse scandal, we have seen an increase in information online about how to talk with your child about touches to prevent child abuse. It is wonderful that parents realize that they MUST talk with their children about their bodies and touches because that is one important way we are going to prevent children from harm.
But we are disappointed to see that much of this information is outdated. Although that might sound strange – what it means is that the language we teach children to help them understand different types of touching has changed over the years as we have realized the complexities of sexual abuse. Many of us were raised with the “good touch/bad touch” verbiage. That verbiage is decades old and should stop being used because it may be very confusing to children as sexual abuse can physically feel good. This might be shocking to you, but it is very reasonable if you think about it…as our bodies are programed to respond to touch.
Please use the words SAFE and UNSAFE Touch or appropriate or inappropriate touch. If you are unsure how to discuss this with your child and/or feel any discomfort (subliminally your children will feel your discomfort) please visit our website www.kidsafefoundation.org for information and take a look at our 2011 award winning children’s book – My Body is Special and Belongs to Me! A fun yet educational book for children to be read with their parent – it is the conversation all parents want to have with their children to open up those important lines of communication about personal safety and might not know how to start. The book also provides an extensive adult section to help provide important answers to questions children might ask and most importantly how to continue the learning the book offers.
We hope you don’t misunderstand what we are saying by writing this blog. We are thrilled to see that through Twitter, Facebook, Blogging etc. child safety is being talked about and organizations are able to spread their missions and the work they are doing to keep children safe, it’s amazing! We admire anyone helping to break the cycle of silence that surrounds child abuse. It makes us feel wonderful to know that there are organizations out there like ours trying to prevent child abuse through education. We just want to make sure, in the best interest of all of our children, the most up to date information is being shared.