Good – Appropriate touch with children


If it seems as if ‘no touch’ is the ‘best touch,’ with a child, I can assure you that there is such a thing as ‘good touch.’

love from mum

Everyone needs touch that soothes and nurtures. Studies on children in orphanages in England during World War II revealed that without touch children become morose (anaclitic depression) and often die despite adequate nutrition and proper hygiene.

The most important guideline in touching your child is respecting your child’s likes and dislikes. When your child is non-verbal, you will need to watch for signals, such as: wincing, squirming, holding the breath, or crying to decide if the touch is disliked. Any sign of dislike or discomfort needs to be respected. You need to cease the activity immediately, without question and without shaming your child.

Respecting and honoring your child’s preferences, including while playing, is critically important. When you ignore your child’s preferences you are in fact, unwittingly saying, “Your perceptions do not count.” Your child will learn through lack of respect and disregard to their preferences, that they have no power.

touch from mumWhen a child believes she/he is powerless with the most trusted people in his/her life (parents), she/he ceases to exercise our power with anyone. Therefore, it is paramount when your child objects to any form of touch–contact play touch, tickling, etc. that you stop immediately. On a broader scale, the outcome could be catastrophic. Children learn their life skills vis-a-vis their parents. If they perceive themselves as powerless with their parents, they will be powerless with other adults; thus, other adults could include a sex offender, who is waiting for just such a child to become their next victim. See my article: How Sex Offenders Groom their Victims.


  • Gently rubbing your child’s back, arms, hands, fingers, head, cheeks ears, forehead, feet and toes. Rubbing their legs needs to be modified to avoid the inner thigh, which is a highly erogenous area.
  • Hugging is the most magnificent form of touching. Hugging says: “I am here for you.,” “I really understand your feelings,” “I am proud of you,” “Allow me to comfort you,” “I love you,” and much more. There are fourteen different types of hugs: The A-Frame, Ankle, Side-to-thigh, Back-to-front, Bear, Cheek, Custom-tailored, Grabber-squeezer, Group, Guess Who, Heart Centered, Sandwich, Side-to-side, Top-of-the-head hug. Hugs can account for the majority of the touch you give your child.


As the parent(s) or caretaker, you know your motives when you touch a child. “What is wrong with giving my child a pat on the bare buttocks as a show of affection? What is wrong with kissing my baby on the bare buttocks after she/he has had a bath?” There is probably nothing wrong, and these actions would not be considered ‘bad touch.’ However, your child is learning via this activity; “What is acceptable touch with someone the child trusts.”

*Sex offenders use acceptable, affectionate touch for bonding and desensitizing the child. If the child is accustomed to being patted on the buttocks by the parent, their predisposition to this form of touch would likely leave them vulnerable in allowing anyone whom they trust to do the same. This creates a possibility that someone who is a sex offender can begin the desensitization process seemingly innocently with an increased possibility of the child’s compliance.

baby need hug

baby need hug

*Therefore, if the child does not protest when she/he is patted on the buttocks, the sex offender accepts this as confirmation the child is accustomed to being patted on the buttocks and will progress to sexual touching. If your child is not accustomed to being patted on the buttocks and you have instructed her/him to protest uncomfortable or unwanted touch, a sex offender will be reluctant to go further. If the child protests or moves away, it is a signal to the sex offender that this child might tell.

Blowing air bubbles (a.k.a. raspberries) on their stomach is every child’s delight. However, this activity can be used by a sex offender–emphasis that only Mommy or Daddy is allowed to blow air bubbles.

*Tickling is a very ‘ticklish’ kind of touch. No pun intended for this very serious subject. Many sexual abuse or incest survivors state their abuse started with tickling. However, in many incidents, the child intuitively knew that the tickling was different in nature, but she/he did not know they had a right to protest. Therefore, if you tickle your child, be extremely watchful where you tickle. Avoid highly erotic areas such as the buttocks, breast area, groin, or inner thigh.

*These precautions apply equally to boys and girls. Additionally, reinforcing the lesson that your child has the right to protest is advisable if the tickling, touch, activity, for any reason, is uncomfortable or unwanted. It is imperative you stop any touching activity if your child displays any signs of discomfort. Stop immediately!