My Body’s Mine:

A Book on Body Boundaries and Sexual Abuse Prevention

by Kayla Marnach, Illustrated by Kate Collazo 

Narrated by Ariel Norvell

About the book:

–          helps children learn they have the rights to their body

–          told through rhyme, from a child’s perspective

–          empowers children to say no when others approach them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable

–          gives clear instructions on what to do if they are approached in an unwanted manner

–          questions for discussion and practice at the end of the book

Having Conversations:

“If not you, then who?  If not now, then when?  Sexual issues will be discussed with your child.  If you are not proactive in discussing appropriate body boundaries, your child is vulnerable to the whim of others.  Children need guidance on issues including, but not limited to, body curiosity and exploration, filtering inaccurate information from friends, and recognizing grooming from a predator.  We must provide clear, age-appropriate information so our children will know their rights regarding their bodies.   According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2005), as many as one in four girls and one in six boys will experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of eighteen.

My Body’s Mine provides a framework to present the body boundaries conversation in a non-threatening and empowering way.  Per the NAPCAN 2009 statistics, ninety-five percent of sexually abused children were abused by someone they know and trust; therefore, it is imperative children understand they have the right to say no to others touching them. Because we teach our children to respect and obey others who are older, they must also be taught to listen and trust their instincts regarding when to say, “No!” This will not stop all abuse, yet it is a first step toward empowering children to stand up for themselves.”

From the Prevention Coordinator:

Because we teach our kids to respect and obey adults, it’s important that we also teach our kids that they can say no to any unwanted contact.  This, along with open discussion between caregivers and children, can help protect your child from sexual abuse. For tips on starting the conversation with a child in your life, check out these tips from the author:

Five Points to Get the Conversation Started:

1.       Timing: If this is the first time you are talking with your child about boundaries, pick a time when you will not be rushed.  This topic is too important to squeeze between sports practice and homework.  If you have already discussed body boundaries, allow this to be a refresher, making sure your child understands and is practicing appropriate body boundaries.

2.       Place: Choose a place where there are minimal distractions.  It can be inside your home, out in your yard, or at a park. You want your child to focus on you and what you are sharing, not the TV in the background or friends playing a game they want to join.

3.       Attitude: Children mirror our modeling; therefore, if you are timid, nervous, rushed, or frustrated, your child will pick up on it. Your child looks to you for reassurance. If you learn something unexpected, remember to remain calm. Do not overreact! Keep the conversation going by affirming the child and encouraging them to continue to share.

4.       Openness: How you respond to children’s questions and answers greatly determines their willingness to ask questions or talk about their fears. Building trust and having open communication is vital for your relationship. Keep calm, and be confident, showing interest and concern with what they say and how they respond. Never dismiss a question or glide over it. Keep them on point and answer each question, even if you have to say you’ll have to look into something further.  Admit you don’t have all the answers, and that you ARE willing to find out.

5.       OnGoing: Once your child understands body boundaries, the topic should be part of your normal everyday conversation. Having the conversation “normalized” means that when something does occur or questions arise, they can be addressed immediately and in an easy manner.

Discussion Questions

  1. In the book, it says you can tell someone no if they touch your body in a way that you do not like.  Can you show me with a big voice how you can tell someone no?
  2. How did it feel when you yelled no?
  3. Why can you tell them no?
  4. Who are your safe adults?
  5. What is something a safe adult will never say?
  6. How do you think the little boy feels when the adult tells him to keep a secret?
  7. What do you tell someone who says they want you to keep secrets?
  8. What would you say to a friend if they told you an adult told them to keep a secret?
  9. Who would be the first safe adult you tell?  What would you say?
  10. If someone you think is safe doesn’t help you, what do you do?
  11. How do you think the little girl is feeling when she’s holding her stomach?
  12. How do you think the little girl feels when she tells a safe adult?
  13. Have you ever had a yucky feeling?
  14. What happened to make you feel yucky?
  15. Did you tell someone about your yucky feeling?
  16. How did it feel to talk about it?
  17. Why is it important to tell a safe adult when someone makes you feel yucky?

Thank you to the author for consent to share their work!

Learn more about the Can-do Kids Series here!