Book Review: When Touching Hurts by Caffee Wright
It is a sad and unfortunate truth that, among the difficult conversations we must have with our kids, one of them should be about ways to guard against sexually inappropriate behavior. Recently, my husband and I had this conversation with our 8-year-old son as part of his Cub Scout training. Fortunately, his manual provided a good list of talking points, and was very helpful. Not all parents have a manual for that kind of conversation, though. That's where books like When Touching Hurts come in.
The book is written by Caffee Wright, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Juvenile Sex Offense Counselor in Augusta, Georgia. She does individual, group, family, and couple counseling, facilitates workshops and staff development trainings, and is the owner of a mental health and substance abuse facility, The Counseling Group. Her book, When Touching Hurts, is aimed at tackling the difficult subject of helping kids distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate touching. It's fiction, no more than 20 pages, with colorful illustrations that help tell the story of young Kim Walker, who is touched inappropriately by her trusted 13-year-old cousin and babysitter Edward. Kim reacts by avoiding Edward and turning inward, eventually telling her school teacher about the incident when the teacher notices the changes in her behavior.
Because she tells her teacher, Kim and her parents are able to handle the situation well for everyone involved. The book portrays a healthy way to react to a situation that could easily be mishandled. Wright provides a helpful guide at the end of the book to help parents define appropriate touching and the rules regarding personal space, as well as a list of discussion questions that can facilitate conversation between parents or other caregivers and kids.
From the point of view of a parent, I found the book helpful because it gets down on a child's level, unlike our Scouting manual, which is more detailed but written specifically for parents to read and then explain to their kids. It's not always easy for a parent to see something like this from a child's perspective. Therein lies the usefulness of this book. Hopefully, you and your children won't ever have to apply the lessons learned within its pages.
It would be a mistake to not have this conversation, thinking it will never happen to your family or that it's too difficult and can wait until your kids are older. In my opinion, it's best done with the intermediary presence of a professional, in the form of a pleasant book.
Featured image courtesy of Flickr.
What other parenting books have helped you with your children?