He had his hand around her belly button as she did a back bend in gymnastics.
My daughter is 7 years old. She is full of so much life and is 100% a people person. She has a genuine upbeat, happy, helpful personality and even at 7, everyone knows Bailee.
While, I love that about her, she doesn’t always know when people don’t mean well or basically what is sometimes inappropriate.
Last week, while at gymnastics my daughter was warming up with the rest of the team. They were doing their backbend stretches when a guy (who I have never seen before) was assisting with warm ups walked by Bailee and tickled her stomach.
I sat up straight from the bleachers upstairs and zeroed in on this guy. He walked by my daughter again and she playfully hit his foot, basically to get him to play with her again. He did. He tickled her tummy one more time. She laughed and thought it was so funny. He walked by her one more time, and he tapped him again. Uuughh!
It was at that point that I stood up and started shifting back and forth on my feet. I wanted to scream, “Bailee! Stop playing with that man and stretch!” But I didn’t.
I knew that the man was just playing with her and wasn’t doing anything that was actually hurting my daughter, but it just made me feel very uncomfortable. It was time Bailee and I had a talk.
Why Men Can’t Tickle You
As we started to drive to gymnastics practice this week, I was alone with Bailee and started to explain what I saw last week and why it can’t happen again.
It’s inappropriate: I am not sure what is the perfect age for men to stop playfully touching my daughter, but she’s 7 and for me it’s time. Bailee has a lot of great strong men in her life, but for the life of me I feel some kind of way when she runs into their arms and they swoop her up like a baby.
I explained that the only man that can pick you up now is your daddy! No other MAN needs to be tickling you, carrying you, rubbing you, or letting you sit in his lap!
You are too BIG: I gently tried to explain that although the men in her life do not mean any harm, she isn’t a baby anymore. Which means she can’t be treated like a baby with certain experiences. There is a difference between a good touch and bad touch and if something doesn’t feel right, let someone know.
Use your voice: I won’t always be around her so she needs to be able to speak up for herself when people try to touch her places that are not appropriate. She needs to learn to say, “No!” “Stop!” “You can’t touch me there!” without being afraid of their response.
Prevention is better than solution
I am very grateful that my daughter is a loving little girl and nothing inapporiate has happened to her. I am blessed that nothing inappropriate has happened to me in my past (for those that might think that is the reason I am on edge). My mother taught me at a young age to watch out and be aware of my surroundings and I am grateful for that lesson when men did approach me with ill intentions.
I might be over protective of my daughter and I am cool with that. The moment something rose up in me around Bailee and these men, I knew it was time to have the talk with her.
She is growing up and is so book smart. Slowly but surely I have to let her know about the reality she lives in and not everyone means well and how to protect yourself.
Have you had the talk with your daughter (or sons) about people touching them inappropriately? How did you approach the subject? How did they receive it?