Asking kids if they've been touched

Amy - posted on 03/24/2010 ( 13 moms have responded )

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Talking to my cousin the other day and she said at HOPE schools, they ask the kids [aged preschool / kindergarten ages] if they've been touched. The parents have raised questions as to why they are asking and how - once every month the teachers ask. Reason parents are getting upset: almost every kid is saying yes because their idea of touching is just a touch. Not anything sexual. Most just don't understand. So what should an appropriate action be? Should schools be asking these questions? If so, what wording should they use to help kids understand? Should we be explaining to curious minds what they're talking about? I'd hate for a child to not understand the question and if something IS wrong, not understand that they have an opportunity to tell about it.

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Lyndsay - posted on 03/26/2010

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My god, thats horrific! What a way to irrevocably taint innocent children's minds. "Hello dear, has anyone touched your pee-pee lately?" I would seriously flip out. Anyone working with children should be thoroughly trained on the signs and symptoms of all types of abuse.. physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. The signs are there, if you know what you're looking for. I worked in a school last year with an 8 year old girl who was sexually abused, and I'm telling you that if you can build a trusting relationship with a child who is being abused and you can set appropriate boundaries with them, they will want to confide in you. I think they should be teaching children about what is okay and what is not okay (good touch-bad touch), in a generalized manner... they should NOT be directly asking children if they're being abused.

Emma - posted on 04/09/2010

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Teachers need to know the warning signs. And parents need to sadly from a young age explain what's good touching and bad touching.
My daughter is 3 and i started to gradual explain to her about personal space, about what is hers alone and that it is fine for her to touch her body and for my or my hubby to wip her bum when she has a poo and needs help, im also teaching her that its ok to say no to grown ups if you feel uncomfortable in a situation and that if anyone tells her its a secret or don't tell mommy because i would be cross. that that's when she needs to come to tell me and that i will never be cross no matter what anyone say ect ect
Im teaching her slowly and as age appropriately as possibly considering the subject matter.
I wish we did not have to bring up such things to children but what else can you do,

Carolee - posted on 03/24/2010

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I, personally, didn't know that how somebody was touching me was wrong until I got to the first or second grade and the school had a social worker come into the classroom and explain it all to everybody. I felt EXTREME shame that I had "let" it go on for so long, even though I didn't know it was wrong and there was NO way I could tell that person to stop.



I plan on telling my kids exactly who is allowed to touch them, and where other people are not allowed to touch as soon as they are old enough to understand. I do think the school should warn the parents that the discussion is going to take place, and give the parents the option of having their child(ren) sit the class out.

Amanda - posted on 03/24/2010

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I think the schools should be training their staff to recognize the warning signs of all abuse, not just sexual. The signs are pretty much always there.



The problem with them asking, is that they are not going to get appropriate responces, because the kids aren't understanding the question. Then once they do understand the question, I worry that they are going to be more suspicious, and paranoid of sexual predators. They are taking away the innocence of children at an early stage, and while it is definately not as bad as abuse, it still steals their innocence.



On the other hand, if this in turn saves one child out of an abusive situation, it's worth it.

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Nikki - posted on 04/09/2010

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I would presume most teachers are trained with warning signs for sexual abuse, I was at Uni, studying Education. It is such a touchy subject, who actually is asking the questions, the teachers? I would agree with some form of curriculum to teach children about good touch/bad touch and to reinforce that they will not get hurt or in trouble if they talk, but I possibly think that it should be taught by a trained professional and not a regular teacher. The problem is with child abuse is that children are usually groomed by their abusers so even if they have been abused they are very unlikely to admit that it is happening.

Heather - posted on 03/27/2010

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I am sure that the schools intentions were good, but this seems kind of extreme to me. I agree with everyone else, that if there are signs of abuse then its ok to ask questions...just asking a child if they have been touched will not always give the true info...children often give you the answer that they think you want to hear..you may get two different answers depending on how you ask the questions, or by the tone in your voice. I think that professionals should be the ones asking, not the teachers. There are other methods of getting information about abuse from a child, like using dolls to re-enact the abuse, or roll play, or having them draw it...I think this schools method could get alot of parents in trouble who dont deserve to be.

[deleted account]

I agree with Lyndsay and a lot of the others......they should be teaching children what is ' acceptable touching ' and what is ' inappropriate touching ', they shouldn't single out a child and ask if they've been touched unless they have reason to believe that's the case!

Rose - posted on 03/27/2010

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The only reason a teacher should ask if a child has been touched is if the suspect it. Teachers should be trained to recognize the signs. They should explain to the children what they mean by touched also so should parents in that matter a child could be touched by anyone not just at home.

[deleted account]

I don't think the teachers should just be randomly asking ALL the children......it's confusing for them and could lead them to say something unintended! If a teacher notices warning signs or has reason to believe a certain child may have been touched inappropriately then the school can choose to deal with that individual child!

[deleted account]

Carolee, I was going to say the same thing about parental permission, but what if the parents were doing the touching..... :( They obviously wouldn't give permission and then you also might have teachers w/ false suspicions of some of the parents for not wanting their children involved in the discussion for other reasons

[deleted account]

Schools should not be asking that question unless they have reason to suspect that abuse has occured. It IS appropriate (and a good thing) for them to teach that it is not ok for anyone to touch them in any area covered by a swim suit, etc.., but I don't agree w/ them just asking the entire group on a regular basis if they've ever been touched.

[deleted account]

I agree that teachers should be trained. I think if the teacher suspects something is going on then it would be ok to ask. But not all the time to all the students. If they are trained, they would then know an appropriate way of asking..

Cindy - posted on 03/24/2010

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I agree with Amanda teachers in that school should be trained to look for the sings of any forms of abuse. I have to say if one of my girls came home and told me their teacher asked them such a question, i'd be up at that school and have that teacher in a meeting with the supperentendent. I mean as their basicly acusing you of somthing thats not happening, and I would be really offended.

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