When we’re super focused on our kiddos being polite to the friends and family we haven’t seen years, it’s easy to forget that our kids have a right to personal boundaries…just like we do.

🌟 When your child doesn’t want a kiss from Grandma? That’s okay. There are other ways to show Grandma she is loved or appreciated.

🌟 When your child doesn’t want to be tickled? STOP means stop and NO means no. No matter who the tickler is and no matter how much they are “just having some fun!”

🌟 When your child doesn’t want to sit on so-and-so’s lap? That’s okay. How would you like it if someone made you sit on someone’s lap when you didn’t want to?

People may tell you to ⚡️lighten up, ⚡️that you’re being too sensitive, or ⚡️accuse you of not trusting anyone. My answer to that…So?

Don’t worry about what others think when you are doing right by your child.

Me 💜

Your Body Belongs To YOU!

The first step in teaching children about Body Safety is the foundational message of “YOUR BODY BELONGS TO YOU.” We can start using those words and modeling that behavior at any stage of a child’s development…it’s never too early and it’s never too late.

We can use the infant years as the time to introduce this message/philosophy. For example, when you change your baby’s diaper you can say, “I’m going to wipe your penis right now, to get it clean.” Or, “Is it okay if I wipe your penis now to get it clean?” He/she/they won’t understand your words or your deeds, but they will eventually recognize a pattern which will become a family habit…a way of doing things.

It’s also never too late to introduce the message to your children…whether they are toddler, school-age or high school. If your child is young enough, you can just start introducing this message and modeling the behavior without any explanation.  If your child is middle school or older, try saying something, “I read something today that I really like and I want to share it with you…”

How do you reinforce this Body Safety message on an ongoing basis?

  • Don’t make your children hug and kiss anyone they don’t want to.  Anyone.
  • If your child is upset, ask him/her/them how they would like to be consoled. Ask if they would like you to hug them. *Sidenote: I understand that this might sound or feel awkward, but I promise  you it’s not.  My daughter doesn’t like hugs and I’m a BIG hugger! When she is sad or upset, I actually ask her if she wants me to hug her. Sometimes she tells me ‘yes’ and sometimes she tells me ‘no.’  It defeats the purpose if I’m causing anxiety for her when I’m trying to console her.
  • If you are a coach, ask your athlete if it is okay to spot them a certain way or touch them a certain way to adjust a movement.

So, what are you waiting for? You can start today!

Want more tips to prevent child sexual abuse in your family or organization? Email me at toby@starkcg.net to schedule a call or follow me on Instagram @tobystarkpreention.