Teach kids from infancy that they 'own' their bodies

Sunday, 05 November 2017, 10:01:30 PM. The appropriate message is: 'My body and emotions belong to me. Your body and your emotions belong to you. I must respect both.'
The recent horrific disclosures of sexual abuse by movie producers, TV personalities and politicians demonstrate the need for parents to keep kids safe by teaching children effective boundaries. This teaching begins in infancy and continues through adolescence. Parents must act in ways that demonstrate on a daily basis that children own their physical bodies and emotional states. Boundaries also mean that parents and children are separate individuals, each entitled to age-appropriate privacy, respect and autonomy. Here are some suggestions: Allow children to own their feelings. Parents frequently react to a child's expression of anger or displeasure by saying, "You don't mean that" or "That's not nice." A better response is, "I'm sorry you feel that way." Allow children to close their bedroom doors. Knock and wait for acknowledgement before entering. Likewise, insist that children respect your privacy by insisting they knock before entering. Allow children to bathe/shower on their own when they are developmentally ready to do so and they express their need for privacy. Spanking and other types of corporal punishment violate a child's physical boundary. When hit, a child thinks, "My body is not mine. People bigger and stronger than me can touch my body and inflict pain." Insulting and shaming children violates their emotional safety. Allow children the choice on how to respectfully greet and interact with relatives and guests. Many parents insist on children kissing or...Read more
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