As my daughter is getting older, I have been trying to find ways to broach the subject of body awareness and body safety. I know that as a parent and mother, this is my responsibility. My hope is that she won’t hear about it for the first time in school or from a friend, but rather from the safety of her home.
As a believer in Jesus, I want my daughter to have the framework of just how special her body is, and how sacred she is. I want her to fully understand that she can say “NO” to various forms of touch, verbal statements, and persuasions. Not only is this skill important now, it will become more important as she grows up and encounters various situations to make her own decisions about sexuality.
Here is a startling fact from “God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies“, written by Justin S. Holcomb and Lindsey A. Holcomb:
One in four women and one in six men have or will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
The sad truth is that most of these assaults happen by a “trusted” friend or family member.
This blog post is not meant to scare or shame, but rather to “empower parents to prevent, recognize, and respond to child abuse” (God Made All of Me).
I decided to review this book, God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies, because it has made a profound impact on my daughter and I. It has given me the tools to speak gracefully and lovingly to my four year old about her private parts, her identity and value, appropriate conduct between friends and family, the right to say no, and modesty. It has opened a dialogue between us that these issues need not be embarrassing or shameful, but rather important to talk about. As she grows older, I hope she knows she can come to me right away if she feels unsure about a situation or if someone has harassed her. It also gives her the knowledge to treat other people with respect and to know to listen when people say no, or to look away if someone asks her to.
Some very practical times I have been able to use the wisdom in this book:
- Bathroom stalls: My daughter likes to “look under” stalls. After reading this book, I was able to remind her to respect other people’s privacy and private parts.
- Body curiosity: When my daughter turned three, she loved to show her belly and other various body parts. This book was wonderful to teach her that her body is beautiful and exciting, but that it is important to only show it during appropriate times for her own safety (with doctors, in a bath, with family members we have allowed, etc.).
- “Rough-housing”: We all have that fun person in our lives who rough houses. While rough housing is fun and alright, and even good for building play skills, sometimes it can go too far. For example, if our kiddo says , “stop” or “no more”, over and over, it might be awkward to ask that fun cousin or even Dad to stop, but it is important in building a child’s confidence to be able to say no. A child who has the ability to say no at four is going to be more likely to say no at sixteen, and having parents who back him or her up instills a sense of value and trust that is priceless.
I highly recommend this book for parents looking for a useful book to open up conversations in a sweet and meaningful way with a young child. This book is wonderful because it is written in a way that captures a young child in a non-threatening way. It allows a parent to talk about subjects that seem difficult to talk about.
Click on the following link to order your own copy: God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.
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