I’m a firm believer in teaching your children the proper names for things, particularly their body parts, so that they can tell you when someone has touched them inappropriately.

Though my daughter currently thinks she has a regina.


Now a problem has come up with this policy.

She tells me her stomach hurts, or her leg hurts or she doesn’t feel well, but I don’t know how to give her the words to explain how it hurts. Is there pressure or does it sting. Does it hurt like you bumped yourself or hurt like you need to throw up. Maybe you’re hungry or need to go to the bathroom.

Lately she’s been telling me that she doesn’t want anyone touching her, except for me. I sat with her and tried to figure out why she says this, using words that I realized she may not understand – is she feeling overwhelmed? Uncomfortable?

In the back of my mind I wonder what’s happened, what makes her say this, why she changes sometimes from outgoing to shy. She says it at the beginning of the school day even when she knows she’ll have to hold the hand of one of her classmates if they go for a walk. She has a friend who gets excited to see her and runs over to hug, but the kid will hide behind my back and start speaking so softly I have to lean right down to hear her.

It’s the physical change that makes me worry more than anything. Not wanting to be touched is fine – her body is hers after all, and she can freely tell people if she doesn’t feel like a hug or a high five or whatever it might be.

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