These days with the kind of incidents we get to hear almost every second day, it is indeed very important to make our children realise and understand the concept of consent.
Did you know that approximately 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday? Did you know that 95% of sexually abused children will know their abuser and only 5% will be strangers?
There is no particular age to talk to children about consent but the earlier it is done the better it is. Having said this, it is definitely not easy to talk to them about the same. Teaching children about their bodies and setting boundaries for the same allows them to be independent and helps them to steer in situations without any glitch. Just because talking to them on this particular topic is a little difficult it does not mean you overlook this.
Here are some really nice colourful, pictorial books which help you to introduce heavyweight concepts like touch, consent and boundaries to both your sons and daughters. Children will definitely learn a lot from these books and are sure to follow them in their day to day life.
1) I Said No!
The book was written by Zack and his mom to help him cope with the real-life experience Little Zack had with his friend. The book helps children deal with situations which may cause problems for them. The author has used simple language and illustrations. It allows the parents to guide their child easily without hiccups. Also, it is easy for the child to rehearse and remember appropriate responses to help keep them safe. This books also includes topics like:
- What is appropriate
- How to deal in case of threats, bribes and an inappropriate behaviour
- Who, where and when to go asking for help
- What to do when people you ask for help do not listen
- How to deal with feelings of shame and guilt
Age Group: 4+ years
2) No Means No!
Discussing touch with a child is not always about sexual abuse, it also entails respecting the other person and their boundary. The writer gives age-appropriate examples of rough plays like wrestling, the will to kiss someone or not, be adamant when they don’t want a touch and convey it to people when they feel they are comfortable with them. When a child or a teenager or even an adult says, ‘NO!’ to any unwilling action, it should be respected. People who respect ‘No!’ make this world a better, positive and safer place.
Age Group: 2-9 years
3) Your Body Belongs To You
Your preschooler is very used to touch in their daily activities like hygiene, dressing and hugging. But it is very important to educate them that each touch is not good and that they have the right to decline some touch if they are uncomfortable. The book introduces the child to their body and allows them to understand the control they have on their body. It enables children to decide whether they want a hug or kiss from someone. It also touches topics like helping children while bathing and toileting. It also mentions that if need be, a doctor can only touch the areas which are off limit in the presence of an adult.
Age Group: 3-5 years
4) Bobby and Mandee’s Good Touch/Bad Touch
This is a simple book where Bobby and Mandee talk about the good and the bad touch. The good touch can be in the form of a pat on the back, a hug, kiss from family, high 5 or a handshake. While the bad touch can be something like a slap, bite, pinch, punch, tugging, grabbing, scratching and choking. Bobby and Mandee tell the children how they can differentiate between the good and the bad touch. They also talk about the private parts of the body and what to do in case someone is touching them. They encourage children not to keep secrets if someone has touched their private parts and threatens them. In the end, Bobby says that in case of a bad touch whether by a stranger or a known person just say NO, run away to a safe place and tell the people in your safe circle.
Age Group: 5-11 years
5) Not Everyone Is Nice
As children, we all remember our mother telling us not to talk to strangers or the big bad wolf will come and eat us up. Well, the wolf is still there to harm our little children. In this book, Kathy is waiting for her mother to pick her up from school when a strange man stops by her and tells her that her mother is unwell and she should go home with him. Just as Kathy is about to get into the car her mother comes and the man leaves. Kathy is unable to understand why the nice man left. At home, Kathy’s parents explain to her that if a person looks and seems to be nice it is not necessary that they are nice.
Age Group: 4-8 years
6) Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept
This book is beautifully illustrated which raises the topic of keeping children safe from bad touch. The story encourages children not to keep secrets and that the minute they feel an inappropriate touch they should tell their parents or caregivers. They should keep telling until they are believed. The book is available in 7 languages including English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, French and Italian.
Age Group: 3 to 12 years.
Body safety is making your child feel safe and you can help your child by:
- Teaching them about body safety from a very young age
- Using correct names for their genitals
- Educating them that the parts of their body covered by the swimsuit are their private parts and private means just for you and not for sharing
- If anyone touches their private parts then they should tell the person they trust
- Last but not the least they should refrain from keeping secrets in case the physical boundary is poached