5 Tips for Talking with Children about Consent

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Consent

1.  Be a model each and every day. If someone asks you to do something and you don’t want to, it’s okay to say “No.” Let’s say you’re carrying your infant to day care to pick up your Kindergartener. Another mother says, “Oh my gosh, she’s beautiful, can I hold her for just a minute?” If you’re thinking “No,” you get to say, “No!” This is consent in action and you’re modeling it for your older child.

2.     Teach kids that they get to choose with whom they show affection. This is a hard one for parents and grandparents, but if your children and grandchildren don’t get to choose whether they feel like hugging you and your family, how can you expect them to say no to someone else? If grandma wants a kiss, she has to ask. And if the answer is “No,” then it’s “No.” Of course, you can be kind about it and explain that you are teaching your children about consent so they can protect themselves and have healthy relationships.

3.     Teach your children that no one is allowed to touch their private parts (and they are not allowed to touch anyone else’s private parts) unless you’re helping them wash, or it’s the doctor and you, the parent, are present. This alone, however, is insufficient, because when your child is at camp or involved in a sports program with a trainer, nurse or doctor, you won’t be there. Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial to:

4.     Invite every single substitute caregiver onto your prevention team. This way, you are putting each coach, teacher, doctor, tutor, relative, nanny, and so forth on notice that you’re paying attention and your child has been taught body-safety rules. See Build Your Prevention Team – the Easy Way.

5.     Have age-appropriate and explicit conversations with your children about consent and what it looks like in different situations. See How to Talk with Children About Consent.

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