How to Talk About Consent
It’s complicated talking to your child about sexual consent.
At the heart of consent are two people agreeing, giving each other permission, or saying yes to sexual activity with each other. The absence of consent is assault or rape. These are horrific.
How can you approach talking about consent with your child? Begin by defining the term.
When your daughter asks if she can have your donut, and you say yes, you’ve given consent. It’s as clear as can be. She gets the donut. When your son asks if he can use your laptop and you say no, you have not given consent. He doesn’t get to use it because you denied permission. But later, after you’ve accomplished your mission on it, you grant him permission to use it. That’s consent.
The concept couldn’t be easier. Except that it is not when it comes to our bodies.
Second, consider using one of these as a conversation starter at a quiet time with a low chance for interruptions.
“We haven’t talked about consent. I want us to be sure we understand what it means.”
“It’s not always easy to talk about things related to sex, but I’d like us to talk about consent.”
“I don’t think we’ve ever talked about consent. I never realized how vital it is until recently.”
Finally, review these talking points. Which ones are important and pertinent? What do you want to engrave on your child’s heart and brain to empower being respected and respectful, safe and confident, knowledgeable and aware going forward? Include them in the many conversations you will orchestrate.
- Each person is the sole owner of her/his body, and not obligated to share it with anyone.
- Engaging in sex or touching must be the shared desire of both people.
- Healthy relationships
- Be absolutely certain about which activities he/she will or won’t do.
- Learn the languages of consent.
- Understand that silence is not consent.
- Apply your morality and belief system.
- Consider safety, support, and love.
- Give you child confidence to be true to themselves.
Our kids need us to teach, nurture, mold, and launch them. You are not a distracted parent. You are all in, 100%. I know you will have the conversations. I’m just an email away if you need help.
Warm regards and respect for you,