The tiny magical moment when the mind conceives the desire for a child and from that moment on, the journey of parenthood – the most fulfilling of all feelings – begins.
As the belly swells in creation, so do the efforts to nurture and inspire the environment of the new life. The heart tip-toes delicately towards the giant bubble that would carry the picture-perfect life with the baby in arms swiftly above the clouds for a ‘happily ever after.’
Just then, guess what?
The bubble beneath gives way and you tumble down, head-first into the Wonderland of parenthood.
Caught unaware, the Alice inside quickly sets to adjusting to her Wonderland. Tucking in the still-quite-pregnant-tummy, straightening the hide, oops! dress (no one can really get over the cow feeling!), brushing off the dirt of the sleepless zombie eyes, her meticulous photo sessions, waves of laughter and little celebrations of baby’s firsts restore a new sense of hope in the prevailing disarray.
But sadly, for the present times, this joy of joys is in throttle. The heart-wrenching news of child rapes and murders are not only happening but are also increasing and becoming gorier. I am sure that as parents, you are ridden by fear, mistrust and anxiety, and planning good touch and bad touch sessions are topping your list of concerns.
But, wait! breathe.
Before you jump into any hasty discussions with your child, please note the following:
TEACH YOUR CHILD THE NAMES OF ALL BODY PARTS
Just as you teach your child the names for their eyes, nose, hands and so on, you must also teach the correct names of their genitals – penis and vagina. This will enable them to develop a healthy relationship with their bodies and also build the trust between parent and child.
DO NOT USE ANY DEROGATORY TERMS
While it is acceptable to use alternative names for genitals like private parts, ‘su-su’ or ‘pee pee’ interchangeably with their proper names, please refrain from using names like ‘shame- shame’ or ‘chi-chi’ which suggest something shameful or dirty about their bodies.
LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES
Young children are usually very curious about their body and the world around them. They need simple, straightforward and accurate answers to the questions. Nappy change of a younger child, child’s unmindful fondling of their genitals, questions about other people’s bodies can be great starting points for a discussion. It gives them the message that the genitalia is a part of one’s body like any other part and will enable them to respect their bodies as well as those of the opposite sex.
How do you feel about your own body? Do you embrace your sexual self or push it under the carpet? Are you able to satisfy your child’s curiosity in an age-appropriate way? In the long run, most children tend to inherit the thoughts and ideas held by their parents. Hence, along with the dialogues, it is important to educate and embrace our own sexual selves.
Consistently talk and give clear, consistent and repeated messages to your child that no one has the right to touch them, especially the genitals. Re-assure them verbally and through your conduct that you are open and available to anything that they might have to tell you. However, it is important to be careful not to instil fear in any form. Instead of being carried away by hopelessness and fear, let us learn to live wisely, trusting the innocence, truth and protective functions of life.
Enable your child to develop a healthy relationship with their body. Grow together with them in the environment they will live in. Go for the grabs!