What We’re Still Not Teaching Kids About Consent

If I’m remembering correctly, sexuality ed in the ‘8 0s consisted of the following lessons πŸ˜› TAGEND

— First grade: Tell someone if a grownup( who isn’t a medical doctor) touches your private parts

— Fifth grade: You’re going to bleed from your private parts one day, catch these free diaper-sized maxi pads as we throw them at your head

— Tenth grade: You know what sexuality is, right? Don’t do that unless you like stimulating children. And if you’re going to have sex, wear a condom because of AIDS. Good luck!

If you’re wondering where the big lessons on permission were, so am I. If I’m being generous, I can conjure up a fuzzy remembrance of a tenth-grade coach-and-four/ teacher in belted short shorts telling the boys in the room, “Guys , no entails no. I intend it.” And that would have been the final word on the subject, because we all thought we were using the same speech when it came to consent. Yes was yes , no was no, where’s the disarray?

The confusion, as we’ve mentioned above, is in how pop culture tells men that no truly means “maybe, try again, “ and tells ladies that if you didn’t say no hard enough, “youre supposed to” didn’t mean it in the first place. Maybe work on your communication skills, body language, and drinking schedule for next time, girly. The embarrassment comes in real-world situations in which body parts are already slippery and engorged and you want this but not that , and you aren’t sure how to say you crave this but not that. The confusion comes when no one teaching that “maybe, ” “not yet, ” “let’s merely kiss” and * gentle push to make distance * should be treated as “no, ” full stop.

Consent is sticky and confusing not just because sexuality itself can be sticky and confusing, but likewise because we haven’t dedicated future sex beings its own language, tools, or authority to communicate what they want out of sex. And yes, when I say “future sexual beings, ” I intend children. This is a column about kids and sex.

I’m sorry.

No, I’m not.

Parents, it’s on us to do better by our children. Because lessons about consent start on Day One.

4

Teach Your Children That They Don’t Owe Anyone Hugs And Kisses

Day One of Parenthood: So you’ve got a floppy-headed newborn who can’t learn straight, can’t do anything but sleep, weep, turd, and fasten( if you’re lucky ), and is basically a hair scrunchie in human sort. Day One isn’t the best period to start teaching consent, I guess. Whatever, let’s fast-forward.

Skip ahead to Day 730 ish. Now you’ve got a toddler, and this toddler is so effing cute that you’re holding renaming them “Pixar.” We’re talking about chipmunk cheeks, 20 perfect square teeth that aren’t crowded or rotted in any way, a big fat Buddha belly accentuated by a onesie that this child has no reproach in wearing, turkey drum extremities, and a Frankenstein gait that merely induces them more squeezable. I merely LOVE TODDLERS SO MUCH. Mothers, I want to hug your squishy toddlers.

Also, I’m your problem.

Your job as a mother is to teach young children that that they own their adorable squishy bodies, and that grandma, aunts, uncles, fun cute adult friends who seem to pose zero harm( like me !) aren’t deserving of their hugs just because they’re big and nice and want the hugs.

Let’s set it this route: When you’re a toddler, every other human is a Mountain. Not inevitably the Mountain who dedicated birth to the Mountain who devoted birth to you, merely a huge mass of someone who isn’t your mom or your father. For some children, that distinction is wiped away quickly, and hugs and kiss are as naturally forthcoming as the poop that eludes gravitation to land mid-back while their parents are trying to enjoy a night at Olive Garden. That’s why you, the mother, have to start giving your child alternatives about hugs and kisses as soon as they’re big enough to understand “yes” and “no.”

Here’s a dramatic reenactment of a conversation that’s happening somewhere in the world at this very second πŸ˜› TAGEND

Mom : Give Grandma a hug.

Child : * Frozen, suspicious and belligerent *

Grandma : Awww, can I have a hug? I flew across the country to see you! * Holds flabby arms out *

Mom : Give Grandma a hug or you can go to your room until you’re ready to be nice.

Grandma : No, it’s OK. * Mimes wiping away fake tears for dramatic influence *

Child : * Dedicates robot hug *

When I was a little child, the results of disillusioning an adult by not devoting them physical affection could have ended with a guilt trip, an earlier bedtime, or worst-case scenario, a spanking. When my parents were kids, I’m guessing they were sent to the coal mines if they let down their older relatives in the hug department.

The point is that we’ve trained children expressed the belief that when it comes to something innocent like hugs or tickling( when the whole level is how much the kid doesn’t want it ), an adult’s moods are more important than a child’s personal space . If you want your kids to say “no” with authority and confidence in the backseat of a driverless vehicle ten years from now, they have to get practise saying no in general. More importantly, they have to know that hurting Grandma or Miss Kristi’s( that’s what kids call me sometimes) moods is much less important than listening to their own gut.

By the style, I’m not advocating for adults to glue their arms to their sides and bow in deep respect every time they encounter a toddler. If I get to meet your toddler, I’m going to do what I ever do: Sit on the floor and play with them and ask for a hug at the end of site visits. And if they say no or hesitate, I’ll back off and maybe ask for a high five instead. I’ll be fine. Your task as a parent is to give your kids lots of practise at becoming people like me down so that they’re really good at saying no when the stakes are way higher.

Grandmas, granddad, aunts, uncles, cherished friends of children, the same message be applicable to you. Do not make a child feel guilty for not wanting to give you a hug, even if you committed them a really cool present.

3

Teach Your Kids That No One Can Hit Them( Not Even You )

Oh, we’re going there.

When my kids was a little boy, we had a Biblical( ish) approach to parenting, and discipline included spanks. Back then, my husband and I agreed that spanks( or pops on the bottom, as we called them) were a good tool for teaching a lesson when small children did something who are able to get them suffer. Operating out into the street, for example, would get a pop on the bottom.( And we were usually talking about a weak slap on a diapered booty .) The logic was that the fear of get a spank combined with the ache of the spanking would create a recollection that would make them never ever want to run into the street again.

Unfortunately, once you’ve permitted yourself to hit someone as a shape of discipline or instruction, you don’t always follow your own regulations, because you’re also human. Did we also make reactionary “spankings” in anger? Yes, once or twice because we’d opened the door to spanks and didn’t oversee ourselves as well as we should have. Did we give “spankings” on non-diapered bottoms to children who weren’t running out into the street but were mouthing off? Sadly, yes.

I regret permitting spanking in my home because A) spankings permitted my kids to see the very worst version of me, and B) research is revealing that spanking is tied to aggressive behaviour, lower self-esteem, and increased mental health problems. I know the Bible says that kids who don’t get spanked grow up to be spoiled, but if your best tool for creating nice children is to make them when they’re bad, you maybe shouldn’t be elevating children? And perhaps stay away from dogs too while we’re at it.

Actually, let’s fell the word “spank” altogether for a minute, because it’s a euphemism for hitting, and we should be honest with ourselves when we hit another person, especially small children. As a child, you’re told that hitting other children is bad and that kids who hit are bullies. But if you’ve been bad, your mothers, grandparents, and sometimes your principal can make you, and that’s OK because they’re big and age-old and in charge. The most basic, fundamental standard of human decency we’ve “re coming” with throughout human history — do unto others as you’d have done to you — doesn’t apply to children .

So how do childhood spanks tie into consent in sex situations? A kid who received spanks goes into adolescence and adulthood with the recollection of being physically punished for being disobedient. They know what it’s was ready to get hurt for disappointing person they enjoy and trust. They know that it’s possible for people they care about to hurt them if they do something wrong. Ultimately, they were raised to believe that no one should hurt them unless it’s person they love.

How does that lesson not make its way into the bedroom?

If we want our kids to walk into their first sex experiences with the confidence to say no if they want to say no, we should start by practicing what we preach in the activities of the decade before the moment happens. “No one is allowed to hit you , not even me. You are in charge of your torso, all the time, even when you’ve done something wrong. There is nothing you can do that will induce me hurt your body, because that’s now how we are dealing with each other.”

If you take spankings off the table, your child never gets taught that authority figures are allowed to hurt them if the conditions are right. Or that big people are authorized to apply their own internal logic of when it’s OK to reach and when it’s not OK to injure their bodies.

Speaking of authority figures …

2

Teach Your Kids That Authority Figures And Heroes Can Be Bad

As of this writing, Larry Nassar, medical doctors who used his position to sexually assault at the least 120 young gymnasts, has been sentenced to 40 -7 5 years in prison for his crimes. He won’t have the opportunity to serve those times until he finishes his 60 -year sentence for the child porn accuses that came before. I know. I detest him too.

It’s important to note here that this Nassar monster doesn’t fit neatly in an article about permission, but I’m dragging his sorry name in here anyway because we’re talking about parenting, and every mother should know what this boy did. Consent is something that happens between two adults who are trying to hash out how far they want to go together. Consent is no longer an thing when a child is involved, ever. I bring Nassar up because during the course of its trial, his victims weren’t only pointing their thumbs at him; they shed light on the dozens of moments when the system that was supposed to protect them protected him instead. We’re says something about a man who sexually abused little girls while their parents were in the chamber .

And these weren’t regular mothers like you and me. These were the kind of mothers who would change tasks, move across the country, and invest thousands of dollars into making their children’s athletic nightmares come true. They reworked their entire lives around their kids. They were like, super mothers. But they couldn’t tell when a medical doctor was molesting their babies. Why? Because the very first rule they learned in their sex education, and the first rule they taught their own kids, was that physicians are allowed to touch private parts.

I bring up Nassar because I can imagine the thought processes of both the victims and the mothers in the chamber when he was perpetrating his misdemeanours. At the heart of their mistrusts about his actions was self-doubt, feeling that they were wrong for feeling uncomfortable. This human is a doctor. Self-doubt is also at the heart of every adult encounter in which one person isn’t sure of how far they want to go but they don’t know how to express themselves. For instance, when a woman is on a date with a guy she’s liked for a long time and second-guesses herself when he wants to move too fast because he’s well-liked and kind.

Self-doubt doesn’t emerge amply formed in someone’s head out of nowhere. It comes from the narratives you tell yourself about yourself, and how much you trust your own sentiments. Nassar lasted as a predator for multiple decades because the majority of members of us are freaking little kids when it comes to submitting to authority, and Nassar was a doctor, so he was an authority. He lasted because we will do mental gymnastics to avoid showdown with people who hurt us, and we’d instead suffer than trust our own instincts.

So give your children some chamber to doubt authority figures every now and then. Let them explore the concept that grownups can be bad, because yeah, some of them are ogres. Let your kids practise saying “no, ” like, all the time. You believe I’m kidding, but it’s shockingly hard to say “no” as an adult, especially to someone you like.

1

Teach Your Kids To Read And Respect The People Around Them

I can’t speak for every other woman out there, but the Aziz Ansari date night story reached me harder than the James Franco stories or reports of Louis C.K. masturbating in front of female comics, even though their actions were objectively more disgusting in every behavior. The Ansari account was painful because his date tied herself into knots as she tried to come up with ways to say “no” without injuring his feelings, but every clue she dropped was met with “yes, but, ” as if their whole date was an improv game. A female left his apartment in tears, and he thought they had a great night 24 hours later.

Unfortunately, the tale was the best illustration of a consent trouble that I’ve ever seen. One person struggled to say no, and the other person didn’t read, find, or hear her struggle at all, or read it and didn’t care. While every other entry on the list is a way to help your kid not become a victim, this one is to help your child not become a person who tries to have sex with someone who’s not into it. That’s a matter of empathy, and it can be taught.

This starts with modeling empathy over and over and over again. Read your kids’ faces and torsoes, and be demonstrating that they can read their friends’ faces as bodies as well. Literally say “Your face seems sad. Are you OK? ” Or “Why did your friend move hide under the slip and start weeping when you were playing? What happened? ” Or “I can tell you’re mad at me because I feed all of the Goldfish while you were at school. We can talk about it when you’re ready.”

If the idea of acknowledging a child’s facial expressions and body language out loud over and over again is exhausting, that’s because it is. And that’s not including the times you’re calling them out for the incorrect reasons. “Wipe that face off your face” is a favorite expres in my home, because everyone loathes grumpy faces. But I can’t think of another way to teach kids how to check in with the emotional states of the people around them than to simply … do that. Like, all the time.

Despite what pop culture has taught us, we want sons( and girls) who want to read faces and body language and want to land on the same place as their development partners. We crave future adults to pride themselves on how attuned they are to the person in front of them, especially when we’re talking about sex. We want guys( and girls) who ask “Is this OK? ” before they get handsy because that’s how much they respect the person or persons they’re with, even if they just met.

Parents, don’t “ve been waiting for” pop culture to catch up on teaching permission. It’s not going to happen any time soon. By the time the next generation of screenwriters figures out how to write sexy scenes that handle permission really well, your kids are already going to be grown.

Feel free to check in on Kristi’s emotional state whenever you want over on Twitter .

If you have children yourself and need some help with this, authors are writing children’s volumes geared towards teaching them these very things. Check them out !

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Read more: http :// www.cracked.com/ blog/ what-were-still-not-teaching-kids-about-consent /

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