Body authority means that a person has the right to decide what happens to their body without the influence or coercion of others. Early childhood children should be introduced to the concept of body authority and body autonomy from the age of 3 or 4 years. This helps children to become more aware of their bodily autonomy, respect their own and others ' limits, protect themselves from sexual abuse or assault, and disclose incidents involving deviant behavior that may occur to them.
What does it look like? Check out the following information about the importance of recognizing body authority in children.
Children Learn To Understand Themselves
Introducing and using anatomical names for the genital organs is very important for children's health, safety, and self-esteem purposes. This helps them understand their organs and hopes that children can communicate clearly without the confusion of describing their anatomy.
An understanding of bodily authority begins in early childhood and continues to develop throughout their formative years. Starting from the age of toddlers to growing up as teenagers who learn to face the world.
Around the age of 6 to 8, they can better understand the importance of bodily autonomy, that is, realize that they have the right to make decisions about their own body, and begin to learn about consent and personal limits.
Ongoing discussions and education about body authority should continue to ensure a healthy understanding and appreciation of their bodies.
Know Other People's Boundaries
When children are taught about body authority, they not only learn to recognize and respect themselves but also to set boundaries for others. So that children can say "no" to unwanted forms of physical contact.
Throughout the years of their character formation, children begin to be introduced to social values and norms that give an understanding of immoral manners related to sexuality or decency.
In this way, children can respect the personal boundaries of others and adopt healthy, respectful, and consensual relationships. So that children are protected from the unwanted indecent treatment of themselves and others.
This knowledge also enables them to have healthy and respectful relationships and interactions with others.
Avoiding Sexual Violence
Sexual violence is unwanted sexual contact by one party (M. Irshad and M. Farid, 2010: 518). Where the essence of sexual violence refers to threats (verbal) and coercion (action).
Introducing body authority to children also aims to prevent unethical actions of others against them, or the worst condition is to report abuse (violence or sexual abuse) that has occurred to children.
Children who know they have control (authority) over their bodies are less likely to be victims of sexual abuse, sexual assault, and intimate relationship violence. They are also more likely to disclose incidents of abuse that may have happened to them and to seek appropriate assistance from the authorities.
Parents as Child Protectors
The authority of the body is introduced to children so that parents can become a reliable source of trust in their lives. This understanding helps create a foundation of trust between children and their parents, as children feel comfortable seeking guidance and support from parents regarding their bodies and personal boundaries.
By promoting open and honest communication about bodily autonomy, parents can establish a safe and trusting environment in which children feel empowered and confident in their relationships with their bodies and parents.
It is also a cushion for the child if something bad happens that is not desirable then the child can explain openly to his parents without hesitation and fear.
Changing Community Stigma
Society often gives stigma and shame to certain body parts, especially those related to sexuality or reproduction. This can lead to discomfort, embarrassment, and a negative attitude towards the child's own body.
However, by teaching children about body authority, we can combat these negative perceptions and help them develop positive relationships and respect for their bodies.
By teaching children about body authority, we can help them recognize that their bodies are natural, normal and not something to be ashamed of. Children also learn that their bodies deserve respect and should be treated with dignity.
Recognition of the authority of the body in children is very important for children and parents, especially to understand the child's personality, respect boundaries, prevent sexual violence, strengthen relationships with parents, and change the stigma against the body.
The child also learns to recognize his body using anatomically correct names without feeling confused and taboo. This knowledge protects them from abuse and helps them to communicate with parents and a supportive environment. With the hope that acts of sexual abuse against children can be suppressed and avoided.
Protect and give your child an understanding of their body's authority and see other interesting discussions about the world of children and education through our information bulletin.
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