No. Go. Tell.

There was an incident with Miss J at daycare today. An incident which has again highlighted for me just how important self protection and sexuality education is - Not just for children, but for their carers as well.

When I leave the kewl girls in someone else's care, there are lots of things I tell them.
When we get there I tell them about the people who are there to make sure they are safe.
I tell them when I am leaving and when I will be back.
I tell them to have lots of fun, do lots of laughing, and use their minds for thinking, their ears for listening and their eyes for looking.
I also tell them each to respect their body and to listen when it is telling them something.

There are also things I don't tell them.
I don't tell them to be good, I don't tell them to do what they are told and I don't tell them to play nice. In fact, I never say these things to them.

If someone is trying to do something unreasonable, something harmful or sinister to my child, I don't want them to hear my voice telling them to be good, do as they are told and play nice.
I want them to hear my voice telling them to look, listen, use their mind, think about what is happening and listen if their body is telling them NO.

The kewl girls may be toddlers but they are still people, and they are not stupid. If a request is reasonable, most of the time they are willing. If not, well, they have my permission to say NO.

Today, New Daycare Person asked J to go to the toilet. J said she didn't need to.
NDP insisted. So did J.
NDP tried to physically escort J to the toilet and make her remove her underwear.
J went ballistic.

When I arrived to pick the girls up at the usual time (and not more than 10 minutes after this incident) our favourite carer told me what had happened. Apparently, J said "no". Then shouted "No!". Then screamed "NO!" and when NDP invaded her personal space, Miss J got physical. At this point our favourite carer intervened. J would not calm down or talk to her until they were a good distance away from NDP. Then she said, "Help please. I need my mum now."

Try to say NO.
GO to a safe place as soon as you can.
TELL an adult you trust and ask for help.

No. Go. Tell.

This is what she has been taught to do when she is having a NO feeling, and this is exactly what she did.

I am so grateful that she was able to listen to her body, make herself heard and practice self protection. I am grateful that she was in an environment where she could succeed and where there were others looking out for her safety. I am also grateful that she was taken seriously by our favourite carer and that I arrived not long after this happened.

NDP may not be a predator and she may not have intended for her actions to be harsh, forceful and inappropriate. I don't care. I respect my children, I respect their wishes and I take their feelings seriously. When J says NDP makes her feel like there is hot sand in her chest and in her stomach, I believe her.
The kewl girls will not being going to daycare again on the days that NDP is there. Not until she changes her attitude and gets some better education, at least.

Miss J may be a child, but that does not give other people access to, nor control over her body. She is a person and she said NO.


debby said...

Oh, I'm so glad that you got a chance to see that your training has taken root.

My question: What on earth did the daycare have to say about this? Did they not find NDP's behavior inappropriate? Wasn't she reprimanded? Like immediately?

Alison said...

The kids are usually 'reminded' to go to the toilet after lunch before they move on to the next activity - NDP maintains she was just "following the schedule". She also says that SHE didn't actually remove J's underwear, she was trying to get J to do it herself.
Unfortunately the director of the centre wasn't there today and NDP is next in line. This is part of the reason why I won't be sending the girls back - I'm not comfortable about NDP being in a position of power.
Hmm. I might be more distressed about this than I first thought.

baby~amore' said...

wow - very important words to teach our children and the ... be good , play nice, do as you are told ... powerful stuff.
I like the NO, GO, TELL ...
I know there has to be a balance with child carers encouraging the kids reluctant to go to the toilet but I also thinks he over stepped her position.

They expect us to teach our children protective behaviours and the carers have training but really sometimes they just want the kids to go when they say anyway ... a little controlling too.
Poor J - she must still be so confused over the incident.

Pencil Writer said...

Good planning/teaching, Mom. It's so sad that we and our children have to be concerned about innapropriate sexual issues at such an early age!

I could say more about the subject, but don't want to compromise the privacy of those close to me who've been traumatized. As parents and grandparents we have to be so alert and teach correct priciples for our children to feel confident in their right to not be violated on any level.

Lin said...

It must have been distressing for both of you and it's a hassle that you are now forced to change your schedule because of a carer you cannot trust, but it must have also been a huge relief to know that J has taken on board what you've been trying to teach her!

And apart from the invasion of kids' personal space, how did the carer think "forcing" a child to go to the toilet was going to be constructive in any way??? She sounds like a control freak.

Alison said...

Trish - I think No Go Tell is very kewl. Just as I think 'Do as your told' is very scary. I think you're right when you say sometime people just want kids to go where they say, when they say. This is the fastest way to but horns with my girls! lol
PW - Having an awareness of sexuality and self protection issues can't happen early enough, I think. I am sorry people close to you have been traumatised. Everyone has the right to say no, and feel safe.
Lin - I am very glad to see that J can put into practice the things we talk about and role play.
I suspect that part of the reason for the big confrontation was because Miss J DID say no. I believe the big power struggle was more about NDP wanting to assert her authority and it just happened to be about going to the toilet.
Miss J is doing OK. We've had lots of talks and she is happy about having a holiday at home with mum.

Anja said...

I am so very impressed. I am very impressed that Miss J knew what to do and she could tell you how she has that 'hot sand' feeling about NDP.

And you're right, it does not matter if NDP isn't a predator - NDP acted inappropriately with a child. Miss J felt unsafe around her.

Well done on reinforcing the "No. Go. Tell"

Melody said...

Oh wow. How proud are you of your daughter?

I think I will bookmark this post for future reference with the NO, GO, TELL. That's just ruddy brilliant that is. Well done. (& same, I wouldn't go back!)

debby said...

I've been thinking, and you really ought to put a thing in the paper or something. Call this to peoples attention. The fact is: this was very wrong, and you are absolutely correct in your outrage. As is Miss J. If people knew this had happened, I am sure that it would spark discussion, and number 1: NDP would not dare do such a thing again. Number 2: It would spark good discussion that children would hear.

Megan from Imaginif said...

Excellent and kewl work.
Tell her I am very proud of her.

PlanningQueen said...

I have always empowered my children that they have the right to say no. Reading your story shows me just how important that this really is. Thank you for sharing what was obviously quite an upsetting experience, it is a great lesson for parents.

Anonymous said...

at the risk of disagreement, i think you are being a bit harsh on new day care lady....She probably thought J was being disobedient to the rules and causing trouble...I think that the good carer should have explained that she was not trying to be bad but learned not to go with strangers and to comfort J because she didn't understand what was going on.