Help with "private parts" discussion - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 02-10-2013, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am having trouble explaining to DD why it is not Ok to touch other's private parts or for others to touch hers. And yes, she has specifically asked "why?".

This seems like such a silly question, because to me it is so intrinsically wrong, but I am having trouble putting it into words..... Can someone help me with the wording?

She just turned 5 and I've been very open with her about all these things as they come up, just until recently she accepted "it's the rule" kind of response for this issue.

DD 12/07 DS 9/10

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#2 of 11 Old 02-10-2013, 02:19 PM
 
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These parts are special and private. They belong only to one person. Only grownups who love each other can touch each other that special way without asking.
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#3 of 11 Old 02-10-2013, 04:31 PM
 
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These parts are special and private. They belong only to one person. Only grownups who love each other can touch each other that special way without asking.


Even adults "who love each other" need to ask before touching each other.
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#4 of 11 Old 02-10-2013, 10:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post

Even adults "who love each other" need to ask before touching each other.



My marriage implies consent to touch and be touched. I welcome my husband's touch and I love feeling as casual about his body as I do my own. This is one of marriage's biggest joys, IMO.

So yes, you could be splitting hairs here. Or you think that's too confusing for young people to grasp?
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#5 of 11 Old 02-11-2013, 06:52 AM
 
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My marriage implies consent to touch and be touched. I welcome my husband's touch and I love feeling as casual about his body as I do my own. This is one of marriage's biggest joys, IMO.

So yes, you could be splitting hairs here. Or you think that's too confusing for young people to grasp?

Marriage does not imply consent (maybe yours does for whatever reason, but in general, no). Obviously in a committed relationship you might not directly ask each time but you probably exchange some kind of look or subconscious signal that you are OK with whatever touch is going on. And just because you're married doesn't mean your spouse can touch you when (or where) you don't want to be touched.

As far as the OP & how to answer "why"... it depends on the child & what she's really asking. Sometimes "Why?" actually means something like, "What does the word 'private' mean?" But if she wants to actually know why those parts are private, I'd probably say something like, "In our culture we have decided that the parts covered by your swimsuit are private," and continue with a discussion of what that means, safe touch, etc. (and/or elaboration regarding why societies make rules...)
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#6 of 11 Old 02-11-2013, 07:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by philomom View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post

Even adults "who love each other" need to ask before touching each other.



My marriage implies consent to touch and be touched. I welcome my husband's touch and I love feeling as casual about his body as I do my own. This is one of marriage's biggest joys, IMO.

So yes, you could be splitting hairs here. Or you think that's too confusing for young people to grasp?

I'm speaking from a history (personal and societal) of women being sexual assaulted by people they "love". Even in 2013 it is difficult to get a prosecution for "marital rape" and the implication that love or marriage is consent is problematic. Just because someone consented once doesn't mean they consent always. It is everyone's right to not be touched when they don't want to be touched. I believe it is important for children to hear and see that you can love someone and still choose when you are willing to be touched.

It just sounds a little too much like "if you really loved me you'd go all the way". The pressure to have sex doesn't end for people once they are in love or married many people negotiate that pressure forever.

Also your statement that "only adults who love each other can touch WITHOUT asking" implies that it is a-okay for kids to touch each other as long as they ask.

I am glad that it works for your relationship to be one of implied consent but I think that stating that loving relationships don't include explicit consent is problematic. I need explicit consent to be part of my relationship(s) for that relationship to be healthy, loving, and respectful.
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#7 of 11 Old 02-11-2013, 07:22 AM
 
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This conversation is making me quite sad. Do you require your hubby to explicitly ask you every time he rolls up to you for a cuddle at night? Can he never reach over and stroke your hair or rub your feet while you guys are watching TV? I'm so glad that's not my scene. I love being able to come up to him while he's shaving in the morning and give him some sort of hug or caress.

But yes, I've heard the "parts your swimsuits cover" thing. Only, I let my toddler daughter go topless for awhile. She didn't like one pieces, too much trouble in the bathroom. So I let her wear boy swim trunks for a couple of years.
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#8 of 11 Old 02-12-2013, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, putting aside the asking/ not asking question, which I can get into later with her, I think, I guess I am specifically wondering how to explain that those parts should not be touched by other people (except parents/doctor while cleaning, etc) , even with her permission. Like why is this touching just a grown-up thing and not a kid thing?

I have been in the habit of explaining the reason behind most rules so I guess I set myself up for it a bit.....

DD 12/07 DS 9/10

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#9 of 11 Old 02-12-2013, 07:50 PM
 
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I go with "some things are only for grown up people" - like drinking, and driving, and voting, and - fill in whatever family values you have.....you catch my drift. It's more than just that sentence, but the convos happen organically so I don't have a script or anything.

 

Edit - it usually involves some form of indicating that it's a complicated issue and involves grownup feelings and responsibilities, and that as they grow and learn about life they'll be ready to take on those feelings and responsibilities...and then relate it to something that they can do now that they couldn't do when they were babies, etc.  and that's sometimes just how life works to keep people the healthiest and safest.


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#10 of 11 Old 02-12-2013, 08:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by philomom View Post

This conversation is making me quite sad. Do you require your hubby to explicitly ask you every time he rolls up to you for a cuddle at night? Can he never reach over and stroke your hair or rub your feet while you guys are watching TV? I'm so glad that's not my scene. I love being able to come up to him while he's shaving in the morning and give him some sort of hug or caress.

But yes, I've heard the "parts your swimsuits cover" thing. Only, I let my toddler daughter go topless for awhile. She didn't like one pieces, too much trouble in the bathroom. So I let her wear boy swim trunks for a couple of years.

I think this is more a case of, if you *don't* want your partner to touch you, for whatever reason, that that's OK and their desire to touch you does not override your right to not be touched.  Even if they're your spouse.  I don't think anyone in this thread means that their spouse or partner has to say, "Can I hold your hand?" when they're on the couch together, or, "May I goose you?" while they walk by.  I think it's more a right of refusal if you're not in the mood trumping a "marital right" than a clear question asked with every single touch.  Or at least that's the way I see it.  And while I don't require my husband to ask to goose me in the kitchen or kiss my neck as he walks by me in the hall, I also wouldn't tell my kids that being married means you can touch without asking, because that feels a little too much like ownership to me instead of partnership.  Even with a similar implied consent in my own marriage (for instance, my husband came home from work tonight and I sat directly on his lap and kissed him hello without asking), there is simultaneously a requirement for both partners to be able to read each other and get the vibe if the other person isn't into it (without being offended), and respect that - so while I may not be directly *asking*, I am not just doing what I want (and neither is he) - and that's a concept that I think is kind of over kids' heads for a while (the feelings/responsibilities I mentioned in my previous post above).  This is obviously relating to what I would consider a respectful, healthy relationship. 

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#11 of 11 Old 02-18-2013, 11:14 PM
 
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you can explain it from your own perspective. 

 

that it feels wrong, weird or whatever words you find you prefer. express your own feelings. or even express you dont really know - if you dont. but explain that most people absolutely dont like anyone touching there without permission and so its not a good thing to do to anyone. and if she is in school bring up how she will get into trouble if she touches anyone in any of their private area. 

 

her question is sweet and innocent. why is it wrong if mama wipes me or changes my diaper. she does have a point. i dont feel wrong so why should others feel wrong. 


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