Question:I'm not sure how to talk to my six-year-old son about his privacy and ownership of his body. I want him to understand that no one should ever ask him to remove his clothes unless I'm with him and that he should never let anyone touch his private areas without me or his dad around. However, I don't want to scare him with this talk. What is the best way to approach this?
Thank you for your question and for taking this proactive step to protect your child. I fully understand your concern about not wanting to scare your son with this type of conversation. I feel that every time I talk with my own daughters about personal safety. The one thing that makes me push past the discomfort is realizing that real danger is out there and it is my responsibility to prepare them for the reality of life's dangers. If I choose not to tell them (in age appropriate ways)how to protect themselves, I am inviting danger instead of keeping it away.
There are some great resources in the forms of books, flyers, web info regarding talking to your child about personal safety. In fact, not too many weeks ago Focus on the Family had a free download about talking to your child about personal safety. I'm sure you can find it on their website search by going to www.fotf.org.
There is also a program in many public schools called "Good Touch, Bad Touch" and it usually begins in Kindergarten. You may want to ask your school counselor about what material is being presented at what ages and if you can have a copy so you know what is being taught.
The most important thing is to talk with your son in a calm, relaxed way. He will follow your lead. If you are fearful, nervous, etc. he will be too. However, if you approach the subject with love and concern for him he will understand that you are sharing this with him for his own good. Also realize that this is not a one time conversation. This conversation needs to continue throughout his childhood and adolescence changing in depth as he grows, matures, and understands more about people, himself, and life circumstances.
As parents today, we cannot shield our children from bad news or even news that may frighten them. However, we can choose how to present this news, knowing our child's personality, temperment, and readiness.
I hope this is helpful. God bless you as you communicate truth with your son.