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Expert Advice: Teaching your children about Good and Bad Touch



Do your kids know the difference between appropriate touch and inappropriate touch?Dr. Manjiri Deshpande Shenoy shares tips about how to initiate the conversation and what you must discuss.


Unfortunately, everyday we hear about incidents of young kids being sexually abused in various parts of the country. The incidence of these cases is only increasing each year. In today’s time, it’s imperative that we  teach our children about body safety before we teach them technology!


While schools across India have invested huge sums to include this as part of their curriculum, it is paramount that parents first educate their children at home. Whether your child is a boy or a girl, this is equally important.


There are different ways of teaching children body safety. Using pictures, stories and videos is helpful.  It’s a process rather than a one time discussion – so ensure that you take enough time out to spend on this topic, no matter how uncomfortable you are.


For young children, a good way to teach them is through “Circle of Life”. First and foremost, help them identify their private parts, draw pictures of a girl and boy and ask them to identify private parts. Explain to them as to why they are private.


Then explain the following circles in a pictorial way


    • Private circle: The people who can touch them on their private parts. Ex: when they are small- parents, a doctor while examining them in presence of parents


    • Hug circle : People whom they can hug or sit on their lap. Ex: grandparents, close relatives, family friends


    • Handshake/ wave circle: people whom they can shake hands or wave, but can not hug or sit on lap. Ex: distant relatives, acquaintances, shop keepers, house maids etc


  • Stranger circle- people who should be avoided. Ex: strangers.


Draw circles for each and ask the child to write names in corresponding circles. Repeat this as a game with them once in few days.




    • Make kids understand the importance of confiding in their parents.


    • Help them to feel comfortable with their own bodies


    • Explain to them that they need to report to parents if anyone touches them inappropriately.


    • Talk to them daily, know their friends and their whereabouts.


    • If you observe any sudden behavioural changes or drop in academic performance, do pay more attention. If needed, take help of counselors


    • In case any child reports abuse, it should be taken seriously.


  • Believing and supporting the child is crucial.


Hope these thoughts and tips help to make this a more comfortable conversation with your child, which ultimately leads to fewer children being sexually abused.





Image source: Pixabay & Draw Line

Dr. Manjiri Deshpande Shenoy
MBBS, DNB (Psychiatry), Fellow (Child and Adolescent Psych)
Psychiatrist and Head-  ICGC (Indlas Child Guidance Clinic)