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March 16, 2020 Monday 01:55:09 PM IST

Many parents delay talking to kids about inappropriate touching

Parent Interventions

One in four parents of elementary school-age children say they have not yet begun talking about inappropriate touching, according to the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at the University of Michigan.

The report is based on responses from 1,106 parents who had at least one child age 2-9 years. Three in five parents agree that the preschool years is the right time to talk about inappropriate touching. But among parents of preschoolers who have not talked about it, 71% believe their child is too young. Many parents also say they want more help navigating the conversation - but two in five say they haven't received any information on how to talk with their child about inappropriate touching. Just a quarter of parents have received such information from a health care provider.

Mott Poll co-director Sarah Clark notes that parents may start this process during the preschool years by teaching the anatomically correct names for body parts and explaining what parts are private. Among parents of elementary school-age children who have not talked about inappropriate touching, the most common reason was just not getting around to it (39%). Another 18% said that discussions are unnecessary because inappropriate touching of children rarely happens.

Other common reasons for not talking about inappropriate touching with school-age children include feeling the child is still too young (36%), not wanting to scare the child (21%), and not knowing how to bring it up (18%).


In addition to discussions, Clark says parents should think about family rules that can reinforce the concept of personal boundaries. For example, parents shouldn't force children to accept hugs, kisses or other physical contact from anybody, including family members and friends. Sixty percent of parents said they'd like their child's school to teach students about the topic, and 76% want the school to provide information for parents.

(Content Courtesy: https://www.eurekalert.org/)

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