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Teaching Your Child Consent and Respecting Personal Space

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Unless the concept of personal space and respecting others have been instilled at a young age, most children are too fixated on having fun. While there’s no problem in having a good time and letting your children learn from playing, it’s still important to teach them lessons that there are some forms of “touch” that are inappropriate and often have repercussions once they are older.

For most children, the concept of consent and personal space can be alien to children, as they’re not quite sure about more mature concepts. But teaching your children the necessary lessons at such an early age can help present domestic, physical, and sexual abuse when they are older.

One of the best ways of teaching proper and appropriate amounts of “assertion” can ensure that your child isn’t being too pushy with trying to assert dominance on the other person’s personal space. One of the best ways of ensuring that they don’t make other kids feel uncomfortable is by teaching them the concept of “safe touch” and “unsafe touch.”

But what is safe and unsafe touch? What are the rules that they’ll have to follow? We’ll be breaking down necessary rules that they can follow while you’re teaching them important life lessons.

Safe, Unwanted Touch, And Unsafe Touch

First and foremost, we will need to discuss the differences between these three kinds of touches: safe, unwanted, and unsafe. Sitting your child down and having a frank and direct (but still appropriate) discussion with them can ensure that they’ll process everything more smoothly.

Unwanted Touch

  • Although this type of touch does not cause physical harm, it can make someone feel uncomfortable and cause mental trauma in more severe forms.
  • Explain to your child that touching the private parts and forcefully touching individuals is a big no-no. You might also have to discuss the concept of consent with them.
  • It’s important to emphasize that unwanted touch can also be considered unsafe, and there are serious consequences and punishments for such touches when they are now old enough.

Unsafe Touch

  • Unsafe touch will make individuals feel confused, embarrassed, angry, and even hurt.
  • These types of touch can cause physical harm, such as pulling hair, kicking, punching, slapping, and pushing people down.
  • It’s important to let your child know that accidents are also considered unsafe touch, but genuinely saying sorry can remedy this.

Safe Touch

  • Let your child know that this is the kind of touch that will help others feel more protected, loved, and taken care of
  • Examples of safe touch are kissing them on the cheek and forehead, patting them, shaking their hand, and brushing their hair.
  • It’s also important to note that a “safe” touch can also hurt, such as administering first aid, giving an injection, or cleaning a wound. Not all types of safe touch are comfortable, but they are still necessary.

Starting At An Early Age

teaching kids in preschool

The best time to teach children is when they are still young since they will carry these lessons throughout much of their adulthood. However, it’s going to be difficult to teach children about personal space and consent at a very young age, especially when it’s a mature topic that’s quite “alien” to them.

You don’t really have to give your child intricate and long answers since this will only confuse them. Instead, you can use simple and general ways of communicating with them, such as “It’s not appropriate to do that.” or “They don’t like it if you do that.”

When children don’t know what is considered safe and unsafe, touch can make them more vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse during their early adult years.

But even though we’ll do everything in our power to ensure that our child is protected, secure, and safe, they will eventually grow older and face adversities on their own. They will eventually face physical harm in their adulthood, especially if they get into fights or some form of physical harm. If this is the case, you might want to consider commissioning the services of a personal injury attorney.

Using Appropriate Names

Most parents are stuck in a rock and hard place, especially when they don’t really want to start discussing private body parts with children at a very young age, but they will need to. One of the best ways to neutralize sexuality is by using appropriate names for private parts.

When you are teaching them what inappropriate touch is, you can use appropriate terms for genitals and the specific parts of the genitals. Most parents would use a bathing suit as a model when identifying different parts of the body. Let them know why most private parts are covered, and it’s best they are for the “special someone.”

There are various ways to teach your child consent and respecting others’ personal space without making them feel uncomfortable. You don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to the methods that we have discussed since there are various ways of teaching your proper child manners and right conduct. Not only will this help them foster better relationships with other children, but they’ll bring this into their adulthood

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