A Guide To Secrets of Teaching Kids Consent

Learning the concept of consent to your child is essential to developing a sense of their physical and sexual integrity. How to go about it? What words to use and what missteps should be avoided? The child therapist answers these questions and offers parents concrete strategies allowing them to teach their child to say NO! Now the question is:

Here is Everything You Should Know About Teaching Consent to Kids

Consent is important and no means no- teaching this to your kids is of supreme importance- Here is what you should teach them- 

The Difference Between Obeying and Consenting

Parents, stakeholders in the school system, and the community surrounding our children (for example, daycare centers) quickly educate children to follow the rules and obey rather than consent. What parent has not been forced to tell his child who refuses to brush his teeth or dress warmer, “he has to do it.”

  • An explanation is important- On a daily basis, explaining or re-explaining the basis of rules or behavior is not always possible. For example, in our busy lives, a parent will quickly decide to buckle their child’s seat belt in the car without asking their permission to do so.
  • What the children learn- Usually, children learn that they have to obey the rules of adults. They sometimes agree to do things they don’t always agree with. The example to use regularly is hugs and kisses. How many parents ask children to hug an extended family member or trusted adult even if the child seems reluctant? 

Children themselves claim that they do it in order not to displease their parents or in order not to be rude. Is it any wonder that they have difficulty imposing limits on adults who touch their bodies or their private parts?

Teaching the Aspects of Kisses

Your motivation will be to work to prevent sexual violence, especially among primary school children, which is linked to your conviction that you must teach children to respect their bodies and assert themselves when a person crosses borders. It is totally acceptable to express affection to an adult or to show leaving greetings without using kisses. 

Teach kids to report to you immediately or any trusted adult if any relative/stranger asks- 

  • To show her private parts or even to photograph them.
  • To touch, caress or kiss her private parts.
  • To play a game where both the kid and the adult will touch each other. 
  • To look at obscene pictures or pictures of nude adults.

At all these times, in the face of such situations, kids must say no and speak to a trusted adult promptly.

Be Confident Stating Essential Protective Factors

When you ask children for an emergency number, they spontaneously answer “9-1-1”. Moreover, when you ask them to name the names of the people they trust and they can turn to if they are ever the victims of inappropriate behavior on the part of an adult, some people answer shyly: daddy and mum.

You can also tell them to identify people around them outside the family, whom they can trust. 

  • Should we remember that a child can unfortunately sometimes be the victim of the actions of his own parents or a member of the extended family?

The responsibility for educating our children about the notion of consent must absolutely be shared by parents, the school system, and the community in its broadest sense.

Adults around a child should frequently repeat these basic principles-

  • You are responsible for your body, and no one can touch your private parts.- except for medical reasons, and in this case, you will not be alone with the doctor or the caregiver.
  • You cannot consent to sexual activity with an adult. The adult knows this and cannot state the fact that he does not know it. Otherwise, the adult is always at fault.
  • A trusted adult is someone you feel good with, who listens to you, respects your choices, and helps you solve difficulties or problems.

Know that the law is clear

As sex therapists, when they ask elementary school children about the legal age of consent for sexual activity, they often answer 18 years old. Moreover, some adults are unaware that a 12-year-old child can consent to sexual acts with another young person if his partner is two years apart from him.

  • Law According to Age Group

From the age of 14, the allowable gap is five years. However, in all cases, consent becomes invalid if a relationship of authority or dependency is present in the relationship. One often gives an example to illustrate this relationship of authority established between a sports coach or a teacher with a young person. This information is still unknown.

What the kid needs to remember

Usually, children learn that they have to obey the rules of adults. They sometimes agree to do things they don’t always agree with. It is totally acceptable to express affection to an adult or to show leaving greetings without using kisses. 

  • What they need to do

At all times, when an adult asks him or her to perform acts of a sexual nature, the child must immediately turn to a trusted adult. The responsibility for educating our children about the notion of consent must absolutely be shared by parents, the school system, and the community in its broadest sense.

Don’t make them kiss someone

On the pretext that they are children, we sometimes tend to require them to give or receive a kiss from other children or grown-ups- often to thank or greet. However, the child may not want to kiss or be kissed altogether, and it is essential to respect this. 

We can teach him to be polite without imposing this contact on him. Hello and a thank you will be more than enough. 

Teach them to ask the other if they agree 

Example: A little boy may really want to hug his school friend because he really loves her very much, and that’s his way of showing it to her. Now, this little girl may not want that hug. 

If from an early age, we teach them that it is enough to ask and above all to listen and to respect the opinion of the other, this will become natural for them. 

Teach them to say NO

You need to listen to their desires, their feelings and to express them. They also have the right not to want a kiss from mom. Yes, it hurts a bit, we admit. 

But it is their right to these little ingrates.  Explain to them that their body belongs to them and to them only. That they should love him, take care of him, and respect him. 

Instill the notion of consent from childhood

For years now, it has been proven by scandals and debates that the notion of consent remains unclear. How to integrate it into his education? 

  • Here are some explanations:

The wave of protests and outrage that followed the Weinstein and #MeToo affair highlighted the fact that the notion of consent remains unclear for many people. For many child experts and educators, the idea of consent then became an essential topic to discuss with them and incorporate into their education. 

Far from the embarrassing first conversation around sexuality, for psychologists, this is an essential passage for the development of the child.

Accept the inevitable discussion from an early age

Generally, parents wait until elementary school to discuss the topic of procreation with their children (the issue of sexuality is usually discussed later, in the early stages of adolescence). On the other hand, for the specialist, the notion of consent should be addressed from the age of three or four years. 

At this point, most children begin to understand the body (especially their own) and start sexual curiosity. 

Create limits for your child

Professionals emphasize that “for the child to be able to say no, it is first important to teach him to say no.” If there is one rule that we must instill from the start for the specialist, it is quite simply to “not do to others what we would not like to be done.” 

  • It is possible that during adolescence, group influence takes over the personal will, which is why it emphasizes the creation of good foundations from early childhood.
  • Teaching children consent means, first of all, showing them how to protect themselves, but also how to listen to others and know how to receive their “no.”

Teach Children to Identify Their Emotions

The step is to teach children about different types of emotions. It is a delicate color chart and more or less precise depending on whether the child is 3 or 12 years old. You can teach him to identify them and ask himself if such a situation makes him feel good, uncomfortable, and embarrassed, provoking rejection. 

  • What you need to say

You must tell them that it is essential to listen to yourself ‘. They don’t feel anything, and if they feel any discomfort in their body, the situation must be brought to an end immediately. It’s not always easy, which is why you have to talk to them about it in simple terms. 

  • The early age process

From an early age, a child is able to understand on the one hand that his body belongs to him and, on the other hand, that the body of the other is not at his disposal. But in order for these messages to be clear, he also needs adults to set an example for him.

Respect Consent: Adults Must Show Example

How can you claim from your children something that we don’t do ourselves? Yes, everyone remembers that old aunt who forced us to kiss her when we were children or that friend of the parents who insisted on hugging us on her knees. 

What the adults need to do

Adults should be the first to ask if they can give a kiss or a hug to children, and children must feel empowered to answer that they don’t want to. It’s slowly starting to evolve, but it’s really a notion of education that needs to be integrated more. 

Protect children from sexual violence in the home

According to a survey conducted by the National Institute for Demographic Studies, 13% of men and 18% of women have suffered parental or intra-family violence of a psychological, physical, or sexual nature before they come of age. 

If we hear more and more about incest and these alarming numbers, it is more than ever necessary to inform children of the dangers that can be present in their close entourage. According to child specialists, if we are talking about consent, respect for the body, it is difficult not to mention sexual violence in the home.

Teach Children the Rules of Politeness and Respect

From an early age, a baby lives surrounded. There are his parents and his family at large in his immediate circle, family friends, the nanny or nursery staff, and friends. One of the first words he will learn is “Hello,” whether in the morning when he wakes up or arrives somewhere.

The Child’s Refusal: Why He Does Not Want To Say Hello

Your child may be the type to imitate you and therefore say hello if you say hello. You will consequently be super proud that even at 2 years old, he says hello to everyone and sometimes, oh joy, by adding a lady or a gentleman.

Make him learn Politeness

Showing him by example is a solution that you can put in place. If you say “Hello Madam” (obviously, if it’s a lady!), the child may want to imitate you, and then this polite formula will become a reflex or even an automatism. 

Verdict

Making your child understand the meaning of consent and make her aware of the different aspects of sensitivity, be it in case of touch or words or physical nearness, is a very tough task and needs much attention. The points above can be beneficial when it comes to making them have a fair idea.

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