How should i explain my 4 yr old daughter about sexual abuse?

Ananya - posted on 02/05/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )




Hi Frens!! I have a daughter who has turned four and goes to school. I want to tell her to distinguish between a good touch and bad touch. But I don't know how to tell her. Please help me out.


Karen - posted on 02/05/2010




my cousin just started explaining this to her daughter and son as well - what she did was just explain to them that if anyone tried to touch their "private parts" that they needed to tell her (or another grown up if mom and dad weren't around) she explained to them that their private parts were anything that their bathing suits covered. it was easy for them to understand for now until they are a little older. hope this helps a bit and good luck


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[deleted account]

I come back to "secret touch". Also, one of the first rules I learned about working with children is that you never make a promise to them that you cannot or will not keep. So promising that no one will get in trouble is maybe not the best way to go. You can promise that you will do what is right with the information that is given. As far as kid touching goes there is a certain amount of of exploration that is normal

Please remember that your child is much more likely to be victimized by someone you know like and trust. Not by a stranger.

Deva - posted on 02/05/2010




I want to thank everyone for their help. I have a 4yr old boy and I to don't know how to address this with him. I will use some of these ideas. Thanks again.

Isobel - posted on 02/05/2010




With my kids, I ask them, on a regular basis...who is a stranger (and I regularly name friends of ours...our rule is that if you haven't slept over at their house...they are a stranger) ...I often name acquaintances in our conversations (and that just leads to a clearer understanding of who is IN our inner circle)

I also have a rule with my kids that if we are ever separated in a store and somebody tries to have them leave through any doors, that they are to break the biggest, most expensive thing they can find (especially TVs)...because then the manager won't LET them leave till I pay the bill...

Private parts? whenever anybody makes you feel uncomfortable for any reason you can tell me...and NOBODY will get in trouble...I promise (whether that's true or not)

Carolee - posted on 02/05/2010




Show her (on her body) where other people are not allowed to touch. Make sure to point out both "chest areas" individually (some kid might push her accidently on her sternum or something, and you don't want to confuse her by having her think that it's a "wrong" touch when it was accidental and a natural hazard of playing with other kids), her vigina, and her butt.

Let her know that if the person touching her in any of those places is someone other than a doctor that you have taken her to or you and whoever else bathes her (if you still help her do that), than it is something she needs to tell you.

I wouldn't bring up that it's "wrong", but just that it is very important for her to tell you. (I felt like it was MY fault when I was molested because people kept telling me it was "wrong" for people to touch me there.) As soon as you know who did what, report it to as many people as you possibly can!

Always make sure she feels safe talking to you about it. Make sure she knows that, no matter what anybody else has told her, you will always love her and nothing bad is going to happen to anybody in your family if she tells when this happens and who did it (if it does happen). Good luck.

[deleted account]

The problem with some of these ideas, is that at this age children associate feelings of pain with bad or evil and feelings of pleasure with good actions. Get what I am saying? As a former police officer I have worked cases where a child has been sexually abused but it didn't necessarily hurt or may have felt good. Now was it still wrong? Absolutely! Children think differently that we do though. My point is I wouldn't refer to it as good touch or bad touch because children make different associations with good touching and bad touching. My child is 3 and I have already had that talk with her and still bring it up from time to time. While you don't want to rip the innocence out of childhood, you do want to protect your children. Personally I explained to my child that not all people in this world are good, that some are bad, and that you can't always tell who the bad guys are by looking at them. I explained that some people like to hurt children. I went on to explain that nobody should ever touch her body or ask her to touch theirs, and we went over some specifics. I also explained that (God forbid) something should ever happen like that, that she come tell us (myself and my husband) immediately. I explained to her that some bad guys tell children that they will kill them or their parents if they tell, but that she remember that, thats not something to worry about as mommy and daddy are here to protect her ( I am a former officer, and my husband is an active officer so she has a little bit of the super hero complex when it comes to us, we use it to our advantage when we have talks like this). The world is a really scary place nowadays. We have to wake our kids up to thee awful truths earlier and earlier in their lives to protect them.

Jenny - posted on 02/05/2010




One comment about the bathing suit idea...a bathing suit covers her tummy too, which is something that anyone hugging her or putting an arm around her might touch. That could be confusing. I would talk specifically about her vagina and bottom. Something I also discussed with my son was that it is wrong for someone to show their privates or to ask you to touch them. It is a sick world and molesters have more than one way of abusing children. I also told him that even if it was another child, or a person he loved, it was still not okay and he should tell me right away. Unfortunately the abuser is usually someone the child trusts.

[deleted account]

This starts when they are very small giving them the appropriate language for all of their body parts. Talk about "good touch, secret touch", the field has somewhat gone away from use of "bad touch". Because the touch doesn’t necessarily feel bad, sucks to hear that I know. Keep in mind that very few sexual assaults, against children or adults, are committed by strangers. Most are committed by people that the victim and family trust. For more information you can go to they are an education and advocacy group.

Kathy - posted on 02/05/2010




Have her put on her bathing suit and tell her that anything under her bathing suit is special and no one is allowed to touch her body there unless it is you, Dad, or family you say and only for like bath time. Also tell her that if anyone touches her body that makes her feels funny in any way to tell you and that she will NEVER be in trouble for telling.

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