Parenting is no easy job. Especially with the world opening up to the kids and the kind of exposure this generation is getting, parenting is only getting tougher. We are responsible for shaping a human and the citizens of tomorrow. These are the little people who would grow up and form the world, the place we live in, the community, the society and the culture. Yes, it is too much pressure. We do so much for our children and at the end pray that you have made even half the decent human that you set out to make in the first place.
Of all the important life lessons that we teach our child, consent should feature as one of the most important lessons. We need to teach our children what consent is. Girls and boys alike, but boys more so! We need to teach them that it is ok not to want someone or something at some point. It’s important to note that we must separate discipline from consent. These are two different things and these should be taught separately.
For example, if your child does not like being held or kissed on any particular day, you must withdraw. That is consent. If you child does not want to complete her/his homework, you must still insist. That is discipline.
As a parent you have a right over the child, but in order to teach them consent we must respect their wish to receive physical affection, as deemed comfortable to them as well. The same should be applied to the child displaying physical affection. Never force a child to kiss you, an uncle/aunty, grandparent or sibling. If the child shows that s/he is uncomfortable with it then let them choose to not engage.
I am not of the thought process where you must take permission of your child every time you wish to hug them or kiss them. One can do that nonetheless, however, when the child even remotely conveys that s/he does not want to be kissed or hugged, one should stop. The child must understand that they have proprietary on their body and physical boundaries. They can choose when they want to be kissed/hugged.
This would in turn also teach them to respect the choices of other people and teach them the concept of consent. Consent is two parts:
- You don’t have to give-in when you are not interested
- You can not demand/force when the other person has said no
These are the children who would grow up tomorrow and form the world. Our generation has to do #metoo campaigns because somehow, somewhere we weren’t taught consent. The men weren’t taught that a ‘NO’ is a ‘NO’. And that it is finality. And that one has a choice over their own bodies. One can chose to engage or not, in physical contact, whether friendly or intimate.
When we teach our kids this concept, we would not only make more independent, clear thinking individuals but we would make them grow up into people who understand and respect consent. Not only their own but that of their fellow mates.
Image Courtesy – https://sossafetymagazine.com (main image) http://www.scienceofrelationships.com https://www.radicalbuttons.ca/
- Srushti Rao
- October 25, 2017
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