Teaching My Children to Own Their Bodies
By Rohima on April 03, 2011
We had some medications delivered to the house by the pharmacy this morning. When the delivery man came to the door, he asked for Shaune's credit card since he was the one to fill the prescription. My husband was in the shower, so I grabbed the baby and told Deaglan to follow me upstairs so I could get his signature. I felt awkward taking both kids with me, but I knew for sure that I didn't want to leave anyone alone with a strange man while I ran upstairs.
Even after the friendly middle-aged man bid me a good day and drove off, I felt a sting of shame for implying that I didn't trust him alone with my kids even for 60 seconds. I want to protect my two boys from everything. I'm still in that new-parent stage where I think I can. I have that kind of personality where my social instinct is to be a people pleaser. I try to create peace and good will most of the time even if my inner self might be telling me to do otherwise.
Don't get me wrong, I can do confrontations, but I don't like it. This quality trips me up as a parent. For instance, sometimes I find myself pushing Deaglan to give hugs and kisses to friends and family who to him might as well be strangers - people he'd met once or twice in his short little life.
In an episode on potty training, Alyson Schafer of The Parenting Show says that it's important to teach kids to be in charge of their own bodies when it comes to knowing when they are ready to use the potty or whether or not they want to hug or kiss others. She says to do otherwise is teaching them that adults are in charge of their bodies which can set them up to later fall victim to sexual abuse.
She emphasized that it didn't mean they would be victims of sexual abuse but that when you teach a person that adults always know best, they don't learn the valuable lesson that they might know what's best for them. If some instinct within is guiding them against showing affection toward someone, they need to learn to respect that.
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