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Shatter the silence

A mother of a two-year-old daughter, Das knows she has to inform her child about right and wrong touches to her body but doesn’t know how to begin.

Like Das, there are many parents in the metropolis who constantly worry about their child’s security, but are hesitant to introduce the subject of sexuality at a tender age. According to experts, parents should start introducing the subject as early as two years. But this is easier said than done. ‘I had many questions in my mind. How to initiate the process? When is the right age to broach sensitive topics like good touch and bad touch? How to explain to a child who can barely talk or comprehend. How to be comfortable with your child while discussing it and how to make the talk comfortable,’ Das said.

According to parenting expert Bhavna Awasthy, it is very important for parents to talk to their children about right and wrong ‘touches’ considering the growing number of cases of sexual assaults on kids. ‘I know it isn’t easy. You can’t just get up one day when your child is of 10 years and say ‘Let me discuss it now’. I am sorry to say, but that’s too late,’ Awasthy said. ‘The right age is two years. At this age, the child doesn’t understand the consequences of a good touch or bad touch. The thought has to be etched into their minds by reinstating the fact that their parents are the most important people in their life and they will be there with them whatever happens,’ she added. Child-care expert Vaneet Parmar agreed.

‘Children should be told again and again that ‘Mom and dad will always be there for you. We are your best friends and you have to tell us everything’. The child then starts confiding in you,’ he said. Parmar said the next step is to explain to the child what a wrong act is. ‘Sexual molestation happens usually in schools,’ he pointed. ‘The parents should reinforce the fact in the child’s mind that whenever he goes to the toilet he will have to follow the same process minus his parents. If there is a change in action or anyone else coming into the picture, the child should protest by saying ‘no’ to that person.

The parents should also tell the child to inform them immediately,’ he said.
After these initial steps, parents should focus on building a bond with their child. ‘It should be a trust building relationship from then on. After the age of two, the child grows up fast. But what the parents have told the child at that age will always remain in his or her mind,’ Awasthy added.
Experts said after the age of two, the parents should sit again with their kids when they turn eight to explain what would be the consequences of a wrong act.
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