[Author's Note: This sensitive issue is not one that every parent will be comfortable discussing with their child. It is a fact that the majority of physical abuse cases occur in the home or are committed by someone in or close to, the child's family. It is sad that this is so. My objective with this lesson, is to inform the child without scaring them, that certain types of behavior are not right and that they do have someone to turn to in the event that this happens to them.]
In my work as a Taekwondo instructor I come into contact with children of all ages. As in many occupations that center on kids and their activities, I often have physical contact with my students. In fact, if I didn't ever touch a child, to help correct a technique or to pat them on the shoulder, I wouldn't be as effective at my job. Beyond the pats and handshakes that are a part of class, other touches can come into play. This is especially true where preschool aged children are concerned. These little ones can be on your lap as quick as you can say, 'Hey, there! How are you today?' They climb right on up and sit down to tell you a story about some significant event in their life. They are used to being led by the hand and picked up and carried. They think nothing of it and neither, really, do I.
It's not uncommon to see the male instructors occasionally wrestle with the kids, especially after a good round of sparring when the kids are really worked up. It can be fairly comical to see a handful of kids bring their instructor to the ground, gleeful shouts of 'DOG PILE!!!' accompanying the struggle. This too, is viewed as normal. Most of us have had a child in our laps and most of us have wrestled a bit. So, how do we explain to our kids what to watch out for? When should they be careful?