02 December 2010

PSA: What To Do About A Not-Okay Touch

After last week's Zygote Nephew post, you know, the one about, um, masturbation, I got an email from someone who preferred not to comment. I could have asked her to add the comment anonymously, or I could have done that for her, but I think it's a point that needs to be made and therefore deserves the spotlight of a post.

Good call on the zygote conversation. But as the mom of a child who was sexually molested, I'd say that when you have those conversations about what's an okay touch and what's not, it's important to realize that knowing something isn't okay doesn't mean a kid knows what to do to stop it. You need to say, "What would you do if someone touched you in your private places?" and "What could you do if the person didn't stop?"

The key line is something like this: "No big kid or grown-up needs you to keep a secret from your mommy. If someone touches you and then tells you not to tell, that is a SURE SIGN that you need to let me know." It was shortly after my annual conversation about private parts being private, in which I (for reasons unknown) emphasized the need to come to me *especially* if she was scared, that brought our unhappy situation to light. It's not that I hadn't talked to my daughter before, but that I hadn't discussed how to handle the situation if it arose.

Thank you, anonymous non-commenter. I'll be having this conversation with my seven year old, soon.

Also, if you're having these conversations with your kids, and would like the support of a book that the child will read over and over again, It's NOT the Stork, the book that prompted this in the first place, does talk about "okay" and "not okay" touches.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the serious post... I really appreciate this.

What prompted the comment, aside from the thanks, is a memory that your recommended reading dredged up for me -- I was 5 and a half when my sister was born - old enough to know that something was going on and old enough to be aware of my mom's belly getting bigger and bigger. As any five year old does, I asked where my sister came from and was promptly told "Macy's" as in the department store. i will definitely be putting your recommendation on my reading list!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I did talk to my kids like this and when my daughter's best friend (in kindergarten) shared with her that she was being molested, my daughter knew to come to me with the information.

susan said...

That is a very excellent point. Thanks to you and the non-commenter.

And to that non-commenter I'd say: I'm glad you were able to have that conversation with your daughter. Saying I'm sorry she got molested seems so inadequate, but I'm not sure what else to say, other than I'm glad she has you.

Gina said...

It's heartbreaking that we even need to have these conversations. My heart goes out to anonymous & her child.

Heide Estes said...

Yikes. Thank you for that important distinction.

Anonymous said...

That's a very good point, and one I will incorporate in the future as well. My third grader is becoming more private, so I can imagine her keeping things from me.