PARENTING! Mom Shares The Smart Way She Is Teaching Her Kids About Consent & Boundaries

It’s 2019 and just because it used to be okay doesn’t make it so now. In the era of the #MeToo movement, you may assume that men understand consent. But it’s clear from research (where men still confuse sexual interest with consent), public testimony, and being a general observer of the population that it’s still a confusing subject for many.

We’re not sure why, but apparently some feel there’s room for debate on the topic. One mom of three took to Reddit, a parenting platform, to post a unique story about teaching her daughter and sons the meaning of consent, and it’s actually pretty genius.

The Redditor, Punchyouinthewiener who described a non-sexual situation that presented a teachable moment for her kids, posted the rather interesting conversation she had with her kids about the meaning of consent that lent itself naturally to a situation her tween daughter had with her younger brother. She wrote:

“Recently we’ve had an issue where my daughter (11) has asked her younger brother (10) to stop going in her room at night.

They have always been very close since they are only 17 months apart and at night sometimes laugh and watch videos or read books, etc. But she’s just started puberty and doesn’t feel comfortable anymore.”

The mom went on to say her son will still, from time to time, go into his sister’s room when she’s sleeping to borrow a charger or when he has trouble sleeping, and she finally had to give him an ultimatum.

She said when their older brother, 14, overheard the conversation he stuck up for his little bro. Her son said:

“That’s not fair. She’s always telling him to come to her room so they can watch videos and I hear them talking and laughing in there and now she’s gonna suddenly say he can’t and he’s gonna get in trouble?”

And that was the perfect opportunity to teach all of her kids about consent. She said:

“Just because somebody invites you over one time, doesn’t mean you’re invited over forever. They are allowed to tell you when it is and isn’t ok for you to come over, and you have to respect that.

Anybody has the right to say they aren’t enjoying something anymore, at any time, even if they were previously enjoying it, and you have to listen and respect that and stop.”

She concluded that though the situation “wasn’t about sex because it’s not a sexual issue, conversations about boundaries and respect and privacy are ultimately conversations about consent and we have to keep having them over and over so the lines never get blurred.”

READ ALSO: Should Parents Get Consent From Their Kids Before Posting Their Photos Online? One Mom & A Psychologist Wade In

Read her full post below…

”We have always had open conversations with our kids about sex, bodies, puberty, etc and consider those conversations ongoing. We don’t believe “the talk” is a one and done deal, so we try to inject it wherever we can.

Recently we’ve had an issue where my daughter (11) has asked her younger brother (10) to stop going in her room at night. They have always been very close since they are only 17 months apart and at night sometimes laugh and watch videos or read books, etc.

But she’s just started puberty and doesn’t feel comfortable anymore. However, my youngest son will still show up in her room sometimes when he can’t sleep or wants to use her iPad/charger, etc.

So this week she was upset that he, yet again, went into her room after she was asleep, and took the phone off the charger to charge his iPad. At that point we gave him an ultimatum that if it happened again he would lose device time for a week.

My oldest son (14) overheard and came to his brother’s defense and said “that’s not fair, she’s always telling him to come to her room so they can watch videos and I hear them talking and laughing in there and now she’s gonna suddenly say he can’t and he’s gonna get in trouble?”

And that’s when I piped in: it IS fair and he will get in trouble, because this is an issue of consent!

Just because somebody invites you over one time, doesn’t mean you’re invited over forever. They are allowed to tell you when it is and isn’t ok for you to come over, and you have to respect that.

Anybody has the right to say they aren’t enjoying something anymore, at any time, even if they were previously enjoying it, and you have to listen and respect that and stop.

And most importantly, before doing something with someone, you need to get consent, every time, and sleeping/passed out people can’t give consent.

So while it wasn’t about sex because it’s not a sexual issue, conversations about boundaries and respect and privacy are ultimately conversations about consent and we have to keep having them over and over so the lines never get blurred.”

SEE ALSO: “If it’s not a yes, it’s a no.” Tagline of New Condom Makes Powerful Statement About ‘Consent’ In Sex

As expected, many were quick to jump in and applaud the mom for handling the situation in a manner that was a perfect lesson in consent:

VStryker:

Nicely handled! Can I also suggest getting your daughter an open/closed style sign she can hang on her door and flip as needed? Could help remind him when he can or can’t ask for things from her.

keeksmarie0987

Fantastic learning opportunity. We talk often in our house about revoking consent, and checking in with nonverbal cues to see if we need to get consent again. Our kids are five and two. T

his comes up often with tickling… “she said she wanted to be tickled, and first she was laughing, but then she stopped. What do you need to do if you think she is no longer enjoying it? Stop, and ask her if she wants you to do it more.

If she doesn’t say yes, it doesn’t count.” I also purposefully put my kids in this situation, where I ask them to jump on me, and then I tell them to stop. It’s very serious if someone says stop and you don’t do it.

Other parents applauded the idea of teaching kids about practicing consent outside of sexual activity.

As Kayemgi put it,

Talking about all the ways we practice consent outside of sexual activity is so important. It really helps to hammer the message home. We practice consent as a society all the time (or we should, anyway) and people don’t even realize they are doing it. Not scrolling to the next photo when someone hands you their phone is a form of practicing consent.

Asking everyone their opinion when you plan a group activity. Asking permission before you post a friend’s photo online, saying, ‘Hey, do you have a minute to talk right now?’ at work, asking a kid if it’s ok to give them a hug. It’s all practicing consent! Awesome job on making this a little lesson in consent for your kids.

One parent noted that they were struggling to teach their kids the same lesson in a way that truly resonates. The Redditor, BatFace wrote:

I have this conversation all the time with my 7-year-old son. My 3-year-old daughter isn’t really touchy freely and he is. He often, like multiple times a day, will just randomly surprise hug her and she hates it.

I have to try to tell him that I understand he is trying to show love but she doesn’t feel it as love and does not consent to being touched like that. I’m struggling trying to come up with a way to explain so he understands, because it doesn’t feel like what I’m saying is sinking in.”

BatFace chatted about the issue with another Redditor and landed on the idea of creating a “no tolerance” rule, in which her son would be sent to his room after the first offense as opposed to the second.

An unconventional conversation about consent from Parenting

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