Main idea: We are living in an age where the word “consent” is introduced early. That’s a good thing.
So, Hollie’s attending Girls Rock Camp again this summer (hopefully) for the fifth year. Her first year she heard the word “consent.” She was nine. And, yes, it was in the context we think of it in: sexuality. I wasn’t in any way worried about this, in fact, I was grateful. What they taught her was that no one should touch her without her permission. That means friends’ hugs, family members’ hugs, and especially those creepy behaviors we sometimes excuse away when little girls worry about them.
“He does that because he likes you.”
With “that” meaning chase you on the playground, sit too close to you on the floor, hit you, pull your hair, hug you, or even kiss you without your permission.
We say, “Boys will be boys,” and this episode is about why that’s exactly the wrong approach.
Libertarians are consent culture in action. You cannot tax me without my consent. You cannot enter my home, seize my property, or require me to send my child to school without my consent.
As moms of boys, I think Jess and Melissa are uniquely qualified to talk about what the word “consent” means in their house and how they’re talking to their sons about it. Because, honestly, I can’t fix what the boy does or says to Hollie. I can only control how she responds.
- Is the word “consent” part of the vocabulary?
- What are the definitions you give for it?
- What examples do you use to help them understand?
- When did it become part of the conversation?
We think of consent as being part of a sex conversation and that may be why people shy away from it. This article offers some advice, breaking it down by age. Since our kids are all over the age of 5, we’ll start with ages 5-12:
- The way their bodies change is great, but can be confusing.
- Encourage them to talk about what feels good and what doesn’t.
- Teach kids to use safe words during play, indicators that they need help to get out of a tough situation.
- Teach them to stop play now and then to make sure everyone’s okay with what’s happening.
- Don’t tease kids for boy-girl relationships
- Teach them their behavior affects others
- Then for teens:
- The good touch / bad touch is still really important here, so keep that dialogue open
- Keep building their self esteem, reminding them of their value
- Keep having the sex talks and ask things like, “how do you know a partner is ready to kiss you?”
This is the first episode in our “Boys Will Be Boys” series. Stay tuned when we revisit this in Season 3. Next week, Sadness and Helping our kids with grief