So, my older kids are seven and ten. They know about the technicalities of having sex and making babies, but not a lot more. But one topic comes up constantly: Consent. You see, to me, a big part of sex ed for my kids is teaching them about consent.
So, we all are on the same page when it comes to consent, right? It’s really important to get beforehand, and it is a good idea to check in with your partner during sex – and some people can’t give consent. OK, same page, right?
What we tend to forget in all the discussions is that consent isn’t an exclusively sexual thing. It applies to all kinds of situations – and it’s important in daycare already.
If you’re a little stumped as how to get started with that, I found a fantastic post about the topic by Julie Gillis, Jamie Utt, Alyssa Royse and Joanna Schroeder over on HuffingtonPost. So, here are my reasons why we all need to talk to our kids.
Its not always about sex
Sex Ed tends to scare parents, I know. None of us really want to have “the talk”, breaking it down into a couple smaller talks makes life easier. Works in lots of other areas of life, too!
Its an easy, straight-forward topic
I know we all like those. Talking to your kids about consent in non-sexual situations is really easy. Talk about consent when playing games or touching. My youngest doesn’t like to kiss people, so that was a good starting point for us.
Its not a slippery slope. Consent is easy!
This is true for sexual and nonsexual situations. Just ask yourself three quick questions: Is it affirmative? Is it enthusiastic? Is it ongoing? The answer to all three should be a resounding YES.
Empathy with other people is a good thing
Let your kids know that other peoples feeling should be respected when possible. Of course there are situations where this doesn’t apply (I’m not going to stop posting my personal opinion on my private facebook account because someone doesn’t like what I want to say…), but you know, life is easier if we all respect the fact that other people have feelings.
It teaches them that their consent matters
You just have to ask for their consent and respect their decision. They should get used to being respected.
It teaches that their Body belongs to them and no one else
This connects strongly with the last point – if they and their bodily autonomy are respected, they hopefully will not assume that they belong to someone else.
It empowers them
Hopefully enough to state their opinion and say NO when they are not consenting.
Talking about consent may not be part of sex ed in school
Sadly, that’s still true for lots of countries!
It helps them to see problematic situations
When they see something happening against the will of one of the participants they should do something. Talk to them to see if they know when to step in, call an adult or call the police. A girl being cornered at a party and maybe touched? They should know that they can and should intervene.
It keeps them safe
We all want to keep our little ones safe. Teaching them about consent will not prevent rape, but it should lower the odds, right?
It keeps other people safe
Listen, I know we all think that our kids would never sexually assault someone. But a lot of kids do, and part of that is simply that nobody taught them about affirmative, ongoing, enthusiastic consent.
So, It seems to me that there really isn’t an argument to be made against it. How and when did you start talking to your kids about consent?