21 Feb Garbage or Garden….
You know what’s the best way to prevent child abuse?
It is educating children on healthy relationships. And who models it to the child?
Obviously it starts with the parents. And if grandparents stay along, then they too have a role in this.
When a child understands what is healthy communication, healthy body boundaries, healthy emotional regulation, they’ll automatically understand who is approaching them with an unhealthy, uncomfortable manner.
Let’s take this example.
Imagine Child A is given a new food item to try, and they clearly do not want to try it, because it looks bad or smells wierd, and they choose to express their discomfort by squirming on the chair, or use a disgusted expression on the face, or moves away from the food, or even verbally tells the adult they don’t want to eat it.
Now the adult understands this body language or verbal language and responds respectfully by approving the child’s feelings. They take the food away and do not ask the child to eat it.
Now imagine in different scenarios the same thing is followed by child A’s parents. Whenever the child reacts & responds in a certain way, the adult understands & accommodates the child based on what the child is comfortable with.
These children end up trusting their own feelings & emotions instead of going ahead with what an adult feels like doing with them, or doing to them.
Now think of Child B that has the same body language or uses verbal language to say No to a certain new food. And unlike the first scenario the adult uses some tactic to make the child eat it.
▪️I love you so much, plz eat it.
▪️Why don’t you watch TV meanwhile I can feed it to you.
▪️You not eating this is hurting me.
▪️I cooked this with great difficulty.
▪️If you don’t eat it, I’ll not talk to you.
▪️If you are a good kid, you must eat it.
▪️You not eating it makes you a bad kid.
So eventually the child ignores what it’s body is telling them, and starts following what the adult wants them to do either to please the adult or because of inability to open up. Because anyway they are not going to listen.
Think about it.. Isn’t this what happens in child abuse too.? Their body would have got uncomfortable when they were being touched in a certain way or when they were told a certain thing. But they are not trained to believe in what their body tells them, but they are made to obey the adult around them.
Now imagine if all adults around the child behaves in the same manner.
▪️No one respects this child’s comfort.
▪️No one talks in a gentle way.
▪️No one gives any importance to what the child feels.
This child is in the middle of either disconnected parents that don’t empathise or adults that abuse & manipulate them to get things done in their way & not the child’s way. Will this child ever be able to identify an abuser or abusive behaviour? Even if they do, Will this child ever be able to talk about it? Because, according to them that’s the way EVERY ADULT around them interacts with them. For them it is ‘normal’.
They cannot differentiate abusive or controlling behaviour.
👉When we are in the middle of a pile of garbage we cannot smell one stinky item.
👉When we are in the middle of flowers and perfume, we can identify the smell of what is stinking.
❓So what can parents / adults do to prevent child sexual abuse? Or any abuse?
Make the child’s world filled with flowers & perfume so they can themselves stay away from what is stinking. Let them see healthy behaviour, healthy emotional regulations, healthy communication, healthy boundaries & healthy body language so that they can easily spot unhealthy practices, unhealthy relationships and they can confidently stay away from it.
This will not just prevent sexual abuse, but also enable the child to grow up into an adult that chooses good, secure, healthy relationships with everyone, where they are not taken for granted, their boundaries are not disrespected, they are not abused & they can tell what they feel like without being scared or worried about how others will react.
One thing is for sure. They’ll not need a Maya’s Amma to explain what is healthy and unhealthy, their OWN BODY & FEELINGS will choose what’s best for them. And they won’t give other people around or their opinions more value than they give themselves.
So parents – garbage HOME? 🗑️ or flowery home.? 🌼 Decide.