5 Safety Lessons For Children
I still remember how my parents used to warn me against the 'chhele dhoras' ( kidnappers) when I was young. They would always remind me not to speak or respond to any stranger or accept any goodies from them.
Now it's my turn to caution my own kids, their friends and all my students against the predators of our society. Safety lessons are the need of the hour, considering the rampant rape cases, murders, suicide and more.
Let's get real. There's no one safety rule book that the children can mug up and lead a safe life forever.
Head , shoulder, knees and toes...AND MORE!!
More than mere verbal instruction, an ongoing practice of helping your children getting aware of their own body parts and body changes helps. Start young. Along with head, shoulder , knees and toes, let them know about their 'privates'. They are 'privates' because they are covered and nobody else is allowed to touch, feel or see them.
Break the taboo..
A predator may not straight away start groping. He may start by...
Never dismiss what your little one says , thinking a child can say just about anything
Your child may have question about the difference between a girl's and a boy's privates. Don't hide facts or snub them off. Give them the correct answer. Doing these will break taboo, if any and will answer their growing curious minds.
Only when the kids are aware of their own body parts , will they get a full authority over their own body. If your child doesn't like his cheeks to be pulled, give him the right to express the same. My (soon to be) 7 year old refuses to kiss me these days. Although his rejection breaks my heart, but I respect his choices.
No, means NO!
Teaching the kids to say NO! is very crucial and that doesn't have to be limited to touching their privates. A predator may not straight away start groping. He may start by stroking the hair, tickling, caressing, forcing the child to touch him or trying to kiss the mouth. Teach your child to shout , if such things happen and immediately report it to an elder.
Apart from narrating stories about good touch and bad touch, talk to them about it during their bath or toilet time. Once , while doing the same , my son asked me " So, my friend, 'XYZ' kicked me and pushed me. That's bad touch too right?"
"Ofcourse, that's bad touch but you are not supposed to hit back , instead explain to your friend or tell your teacher , if he continues to do the same, for no reason" was my impromptu reply.
But that innocent question from my child got me thinking and that's when I decided to introduce the 'Safe circle and Unsafe circle' concept. Who are the people they feel the safest with? Taking regular updates about the 'driver uncles', helper aunties in school, maid didi at home will give you a fair idea of your child's comfort level with them. At the same time, if they express sudden fondness towards someone, find out the reason for the same. Is anyone bribing them or trying 'too sweet'ways to be-friend them?
Trust your Child
Children are naturally very instinctive. If your child says that she is uncomfortable around someone, even if that person's a part of your family , take it seriously. Beware and keep a check. Never dismiss what your little one says , thinking a child can say just about anything.
Talk , Talk and Talk more!
Over the years, kids who have been subjected to any form sexual abuse haven't been able to tell their parents about it due to fear. Don't let that happen to your child. If the kid suppresses , the emotional baggage is bound to take its toll sometime in future. Give your little one the confidence that they can talk to you about anything, anytime, without being judged.
Set some rules for your child.
Along with the good touch-bad touch lessons, instruct your child not to go anywhere alone. If he notices something out of the ordinary happening, ask him to go in a group or with a trusted elder.
Discourage your child to accept gifts or chocolates from any stranger, no matter how tempting the offer be.
These are some of the ways I am trying to make my kids safety smart against the predators lurking around, at the same time praying too hard that they may never pounce on anyone ever.
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