So this is something I've been thinking about for a while and the stranger danger thread reminded me.
We have been teaching our 21mo to hold up her hand and say "No! Stop!" if she doesn't want to be touched. No drilling or anything but, if we're playing and tickling her or something or go to kiss her and she says "no" then I say "that's right, if you don't want someone to touch you you say No! Stop!" and I hold up my hand.
The trouble is, there are some occasions that, as her parents we do need to touch her when she doesn't want us to. The main example is in the bath - she rubs soap all through her hair then doesn't want us to rinse it out. She can't go to bed with a head full of shampoo but it breaks my heart when she's in tears and saying "No! Stop!" when we try to rinse her hair. Of course we try to get her consent and do it gently and offer many different options for rinsing but she hates it all.
So, what do you do when you have a legitimate need to touch your child but it causes you to override the very lessons you're teaching her for her own protection?
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
I'd just explain "If we leave soap in your hair, you will be itchy." and then give her the option of rinsing it herself (you can tell her where you see bubbles and have her pour a cup over her head?). I'd probably also just give her the smallest amount of shampoo you can get away with, so it'll rinse out more quickly. Then if she doesn't like the options, you just do it fast.
It's a really important lesson to teach, even if you do have to sort of go against it for things like hygiene or safety, but she will get the message that her body is her own, especially as she gets older and can do more things for herself. My kids are 7 and 10 and the only time in years that I've had to cross a boundary was when they had lice last summer and DD really didn't want to sit and have her hair combed out. I bribed her to cooperate, so she sat still but still cried about it :(
Off topic, but oh how I detest lice. Grrr!
Op, I think the pp is right that she *will* get the right message about bodily integrity. Unfortunately, as you're finding out, this isn't a black and white rule. Every once in a while she will have to be touched, even if she doesn't want to (lice... hated lice, tooth brushing, necessary medical procedure, etc). I think you need to explain the need and apologize, but explain it's non-negotiable.
I think the shampoo thing is actually not a not-wanting-to-be-touched issue, but a fear-of-water-in-the-eyes issue. You are teaching her "No. Stop!" for not wanting to be touched (which is great!), but that doesn't mean "No. Stop!" should make everything she ever doesn't want to have happen stop. Not sure if I'm making sense... how to explain what I mean? Hmm... well, I guess the thing is that you can rinse hair without touching her. You can say "I know you don't want the water on you right now. I will make it very quick". You can offer to pour it without touching her, but that's probably not the issue anyway. I think that's a lot different from continuing to tickle if she says "no" or whatever. Anyway, I don't know if I'm making sense, sorry. I'll try to come back and clarify later when my brain is less foggy, lol.
For the shampoo issue in particular I'd use just the tiniest amount of shampoo (and I'd use combo shampoo/conditioner so you don't have two rinses to go through). You could also try offering her some goggles to wear. She might find it fun (though some kids don't like the feel on their face). You could also try wiping out the shampoo with a wet washcloth (not particularly effective, but if she doesn't mind it it would get the job done eventually). To stop her from rubbing tons of soap in her hair I'd keep it out of her reach.
Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010
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