Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Helping Children Protect Their Bodies

God Made All of Me  is a new book to help children learn to protect themselves from becoming victims of sexual abuse. Published by New Growth Press, it is written by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb and illustrated by Trish Mahoney. It's really a book for parents with helpful words to use as they talk to their children about what to do if someone threatens them with "unwanted touch" or other suggestions. This one is especially aimed at children who are between ages two and eight, but it can certainly be used in talks with older children as well. It is very important that parents should gently introduce such a conversation, helping children understand that God made every part of their bodies and "every part is good and worth protecting."

The story is of a Mom and Dad and two small children, daughter Kayla and son David. One page has a quote from the Bible, Genesis 1:31, and the opposite page, a drawing of the family as they begin a conversation, Kayla saying: "God made me," and Mom answering: "When God made people, he called it very good." The text then says God made all things and offers illustrations of body parts like eyes, hair, arms, and nose. Dad joins in with "some parts of your body are for sharing and some parts are not for sharing." They talk about sharing hugs and kisses, or maybe high fives. And that's how they get to "private parts....that should be covered and not touched by other people." It's important that even small children should learn the correct names, like penis, vagina, bottom, and breasts.

If someone touches inapropriately, the children are taught to say, "No," and "go ask for help right away." Parents can help children to have a list of friends who might help them feel safe. Dad asks if they know the difference between secrets and surprises and Mom explains that secrets may make people feel confused or sad, so if they need help they must find a friend who will help them feel safe.

This book is good, should be helpful, if parents will begin the conversations....maybe older children will bring their concerns and questions to their parents.

---Lois Sibley,