Good touch, bad touch – a conversation

When I saw Chotu freely planting kisses on the cheeks of all the aunties/caretakers at his daycare a few days ago, I reminded myself to have “the talk” with him. That night we cuddled up at bedtime and I asked him for a kissie – which he gave. Then I started my talk by telling him kissies are very precious and we shouldn’t give them away to everyone. You should only kiss Amma and Nanna and grandpas and grandmas. We give flying kissies to everyone else because they might have “bacterias” (a term my mom taught him). I don’t want to do “nice” and “bad” people at age three after all.

Chotu listened for a bit and said, “But Babu wants to kiss everyone!” That just broke my heart. How awful is the world out there if we need to teach little children not to be affectionate? I’m squashing the innocence of a three year old because I don’t know who I can trust. It’s not just sexual abuse I’m worried about but the entire spectrum of abuse.

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It makes me so angry that we can’t even protect the tiniest and most helpless humans from monsters (hyperbole is justified sometimes, isn’t it?) who would hurt them in the worst ways possible. Instead of coming up with better laws and harsher prosecution, we teach our babies to not be social and to withhold their natural affection. We teach them to be guarded and tell them that evil lurks even  within the aunties who care for them all day. We make them rethink their trust in people just when they’re learning to form bonds outside of family.

I’ll be honest, these thoughts make me cry a little. On days when the news has reports of child abuse I kiss my sleeping baby and hug him tight for a few moments grateful that we send him to a school where I can trust people (it’s run by a committee of volunteer parents). Then I think about all those babies out there with no parents to keep them safe and what might happen to them. Of all the things that can shake one’s faith in society (and the existence of God), maybe child abuse is the worst of them all.

Do you have the same worries? How do you deal with these fears as a parent?


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4 thoughts on “Good touch, bad touch – a conversation”

  1. Totally agree with you. I am so mad to read monstrous news items about little ones being abused. I worry about my baby S all the time. And then like you I worry about those countless orphans everywhere who have nobody to look after them. I sometimes can’t sleep thinking about them. Totally off topic – but if you know of a good orphanage or shelter in your area that is genuine but just stretched for resources – I would like to help. There are just so many little kids who need help. When I am in India, I can’t bring myself to look up at those at traffic lights or those sleeping in a huddle on sidewalks. Goddess, I can’t tell you how wretched I feel at my comfortable life. 🙁 so totally off topic but unfortunately these defenseless, homeless babies are the most vulnerable to any abuse.

    1. Yes, yes, a million yes’s to everything you’ve said. I’m searching for a way to help kids too. One of my friends here at work said she’s researching the topic and she’ll share her findings with us so waiting for that. Will update on my blog when I hear from her.

      A huge virtual hug for sharing your thoughts and for getting exactly what I wanted to say. 🙂

  2. Where was the hyperbole again?
    Yes, I am terrified. I am torn between being a hovercraft over my tweenager, and letting her bloom out of my eyeshot. Tough.

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