Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Books as aids to keep your kids safe from child sexual abuse

Sandhya Renukamba writes an important article on using books to address child sexual abuse with your kids.

Let me begin by saying that literature for very small children does not lack cautionary tales.
We have a multitude of nursery rhymes which bring up the element of abuse and bullying, introducing these as a possibility. Think of Georgie Porgie kissing the girls and making them cry, or a great big spider coming along to bother Miss Muffet. 
We have fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood who was attacked by the Big Bad Wolf, or the Grimm Brothers’ version The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids where the kids are attacked when the mother goat is out shopping, or those like The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson and the parallel character of the White Witch in the Narnia series—I could go on.
Then we have the book series like Berenstain Bears books (Learn about strangers), the gentle, funny Mike Gordon books that make the kids think, like Safety, The Playground Problem, I Feel Bullied, Its Not Fair, I Feel Sad, and many more that deal with peer behaviour, intimidation, feelings of sadness and guilt, etc., that are key terms in any kind of abuse, including sexual abuse. 
Educating children about their bodies, biological changes at puberty, and answering questions about gender and sexuality is empowering to the child, as it dispels myths and insecurities brought about by information gathered from peers and the media, which can be really crippling sometimes. 
There are many wonderful books that can be used with children, like Babette Cole’s Hair in funny places, Mummy never told me and Mummy laid an egg
Then there are the amazing selection of books by Robie H. Harris which, however, have the disadvantage of too much information in one book, which might not be all needed at the same time. Parents can however find these books a great help for empowering themselves to talk to their children, as well as use them with children if they feel comfortable about it. 
Sandhya lists out some of the books that she uses and also says , "That said, it is up to each parent to assess their child and choose the best age / method of educating their child, and if using a book doesn’t work for them, that is OK, too. As long as steps are taken to protect the child."

Also read : Chintan Girish Modi's article 'Making schools safer for children: Beyond the CCTV camera cure'
' for more resources.

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