Start Teaching Your Kids About Consent Now — Here Are 6 Expert Tips to Make It Easy
Parenthood is full of contradictions. We tell our kids that "no means no," and they don't have to touch anyone if they don't want to, yet we ask them to hug their Aunt Susan upon first meeting her. We tell them to ask permission before touching, then tickle them until they scream. We empower them to make decisions, then force them to finish all the food on their plate. These types of mixed messages can be confusing for everyone!
"It is important to teach children about consent to help them recognize, respond, and seek assistance should they find themselves in a potentially exploitative, threatening, or abusive situation," Jeincy Duarte, PsyD, at the Child Mind Institute, told POPSUGAR.
Since my 3-year-old loves giving kisses (even to new friends he meets at the playground), I've talked to him several times about not kissing, hugging, or touching someone if they don't want him to. At times, he's told me, "Don't touch me!" and I stopped ruffling his hair or trying to cuddle up with him to respect his space, and I've read books about consent with him. But there has to be something more I can do as a mom to teach my kids about consent, even before he and his 2-year-old brother are ready for the sex talk. To figure out some easy, at-home ways to handle this delicate conversation, POPSUGAR spoke with psychologists for their suggestions. Find a few tips for parents to talk to their kids about consent in the slides ahead.