Wednesday, 26 October 2016

It is on us, Parents. It is on us! - PART 2

This is in continuation to my previous article, which you can read HERE!

(This too was first published at Feministaa)



Talking of bodies and touches, as parents the other things we need to keep a watch on are these:


TONE!!


Something we need to keep in mind as we interact with our kids on these issues is that – we need to keep the conversation LIGHT AND EASY!



Do not make it sound like taboo topics, and do not let them feel weighed down or distressed about it. It is never their fault when anything like that happens. But at the same time, they need to remain alert and careful too. Let them be reminded of the body and touch lessons often in the same manner in which we talk to them of table manners or watching television. When they ask curious questions which I promise you they will, let us be ready with easy and consistent answers instead of snubbing them into silence. Snubbing them will only lead them to ask other people and will open the door to difficult problems.



TRUST


And, for God’s sake, let us TRUST them! Let them not be afraid that we may not trust them or that we may ignore or neglect their reports. Remember, perpetrators may be known or unknown. Perpetrators may even be closely associated with us, through social or family ties. It is essential to stand up for our kids. It is important to understand their sentiments when they refuse to visit or talk to any particular person or go to any specific gathering. And please remember, how we react to the first time they report to us will really decide how they are going to act when it happens the second time to them. Let us trust them in matters of physical violation, please.



BYSTANDER ROLES…


We also need to tell kids to be aware of any violation that they witness. They must learn to speak up for each other and be vigilant so that the perpetrators do not get away easily. Let us teach our kids solidarity towards each other irrespective of whether they are boys or girls, whether they are from the same school or even if they know or do not know each other.



Finally, I’ll talk about OWNERSHIP and RESPONSIBILITY!


As parents – we need to instill a sense of ownership and responsibility regarding themselves and their bodies!


·        Let us not force affection on them. Their body is their own.
·        Let us not take their presence casually when we change clothes ourselves, or when we attempt to change their clothes – follow the closed door approach.
·        I know it is touchy, but let us also have the other people in the family follow the rules we set for the child in terms of dealing with their bodies, and by this I mean grandparents, and other close ones.
·        Never allow any adult refer to your child as ‘my wife’ or ‘my husband’.
·        Be choosy and vigilant about the choice of songs and movies they are exposed to. Please let go of entertainment that involves disrespect for women and objectification of female bodies.