How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex
#3 Name the part and who can be A PART!
Yesterday, we talked about using the correct anatomical terms when teaching our kids about their body parts. In addition, it is important to tell your kids who has permission to touch their body and who does not. 93% of juvenile sexual abuse victims are abused by someone they know (RAINN).
Be specific here, vague does no one any good. For example, you are helping little Susie (2-4 years old, for us) bathe and you’re going over body parts, “Susie, I want you to know that the only people that get to touch your vagina, breasts, and bottom are me, daddy and Dr. Hall. But Dr. Hall only gets to touch you if we are in his office AND if mama and daddy are with you AND you are comfortable with him touching you. Your WHOLE body is very special. But these places on your body are really extraordinary and only really safe people, who have permission, get to help you with these body parts and touch these body parts.”
Obviously, everyone’s “safe” list will vary according to your specific family and friends. But make sure you give specific names. Recognize I don’t label all family, friends, teachers, coaches, and medical professionals as “safe.” I give the name of the family doctor and the location where it’s appropriate for this touching to take place and the caveat that either Mark or I are present.
In addition to instructing them about who can touch THEIR body, it’s important to cover that they are not allowed to touch anyone else’s special body parts. You can distinguish appropriate touches (hugs, holding hands, high-fives, pat on the back) from inappropriate touches.
The thinking is two-fold here. At some point, they will become curious about other people’s bodies. It’s good to establish now we aren’t going to explore other people’s bodies. Toddlers do this all the time. And it’s not even connected to their sexuality it’s just development. But even as young as 2, 3, and 4 we can speak to this situation and build an understanding in their brains about privacy and appropriate behavior.
The second reason, oftentimes child predators make children touch the abuser’s body. Children will often know THEY aren’t to be touched, but when a predator begins to take a child’s hand and force them to touch the abuser’s body, kids can get confused and paralyzed. Teach them not to touch other people’s private parts, and that no one should ever force them to touch their private parts or someone else’s private parts.
One great way to reinforce this is to role-play. “Can Cookie Monster touch your bottom?” The child laughs in hysteria, “NO!” “Can Cinderella touch your penis?” Again, hysterical laughter… “NO!” “Can Coach Billy touch your breasts?” “Can Pastor Billy touch your vagina?” “Can Sunday School teacher Susie touch your bottom?” “Can teacher Lily touch your penis?” And so on and so forth.
Remember to tread lightly, be gentle in your approach, be factual NOT emotional.
I’m already proud of you guys! We can do hard things for our kids!