How many of you realize the importance of consent with children?
Do you discuss the topic of consent with them and most importantly how many of you as adults practice
it with children?
Consent in simpler words means permission for something to happen and it needs clear communication
Consent involves knowing and respecting your own boundaries as well as that of others.
Let’s take a look at what consent looks like for a child
1) Your body is yours , you have authority over it
2) No one should touch you in ways that make you uncomfortable
3) You have the right to enjoy hugs & kisses and even refuse them too
4) You should also realize the same for others and respect it
5) Always take permission when you want to hug, kiss, or hold hands
6) If the other child/ person doesn’t say yes, don’t hug or kiss them. They may be too shy to say no,
unless they say a clear yes, do not initiate your hug or kiss towards them.
7) No outsider can touch you without your permission, that applies to your parents and loved ones
Often when kids refuse a kiss or a hug or a handshake – adults take it as disrespect. As nurturing adults of the society we have to normalize kids refusing physical contact. We have to understand that it is not disrespect, if they refuse to be hugged or held. Please do not force your child to hug or kiss people, just because you don’t want to be labeled as a bad parent or you fear the kid may be called disrespectful/rude. It’s simply against their will and this is what we can’t enforce on them. The small ways we parent right from the beginning, is the formative path of traits and values children imbibe from us.
For generations the word consent was not part of our discussion with our children. It wasn’t something parents worked together with their kids actively. And it is we now witness unfortunate results of it. And it is just not the outsiders or close family that needs to be mindful of consent always. As parents too we need to consider it and respect it.
If our child says no to a hug or physical contact – please don’t lose heart, it will seem upsetting but please use that moment to respect their choice, give them that space.
Make them feel respected and comfortable. As a parent you can always ask them later about it in order to discuss any underlying issue, so that it gets resolved in time Usually kids are not the best at expressing their actual emotions or feelings
They may be feeling unwell or they may be in a bad mood. Or they simply do not want any physical interaction and that is fine. There could be any number or reasons or not. But giving them that space and respect will help them
build a more trusting bond with you and will help them understand better how consent works.