Empower Children By Respecting Their Choices About Touches!
Think about how many times you have seen a child pushed or even forced to hug or kiss some relative or close family friend when they did not want to.
Each time that happens, a child gets the message—YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY NO, YOU MUST SHARE YOUR BODY WHETHER YOU WANT TO OR NOT.
How can we expect a child who gets that message to then feel empowered enough to recognize, say “NO”, get away from or tell about an inappropriate experience later on?
So, we need to spread the word and help everyone know that it is important to respect a child’s choice about sharing their body for a hug or a kiss, even with Grandma who lives across country and they won’t see again for a whole year.
CHILDREN MUST BE RESPECTED WHEN THEY SAY “NO”!
Here's another way to empower children!
EMPOWER CHILDREN BY ENCOURAGING THEM TO TELL RATHER THAN PUNISHING THEM FOR TATTLING!
One of the most important safety messages that we give children is to tell about not okay and confusing touches and experiences including sexual abuse and bullying.
Many well intentioned parents, teachers and other caring adults often teach children that tattling is a bad thing. Some people go so far as to punish children for tattling.
How can we reasonably hope that children will tell about a very difficult issue if we have previously taught them that telling is sometimes considered tattling and that you sometimes even get in trouble for telling/tattling?
Many children who have experienced strong messages regarding tattling later fail to tell about truly inappropriate experiences such as sexual abuse and bullying.
Try taking a problem solving approach to tattling. Thank children for telling you about the problem and ask them what they would like to do about the problem. Ask them if they need your help or if they can handle it on their own.
Children who are tattling for the sole purpose of getting other children in trouble will stop tattling when they are not successful and you will have used the opportunity to encourage children to tell and to use problem solving skills. I'd call that a win-win situation!
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