Some would say that it is never too early to speak to your child about consent. To adults it might seem like an all-too-common term, but the concept of consent is often quite unfamiliar to children.
Remembering to speak to your child about the concept of consent can seem like a minor thing, but the earlier you feel comfortable doing it, the bigger a difference it can make in establishing your child’s self-confidence.
Here are four things to keep in mind when you decide to talk to your child about consent.
1) You are their role model.
Don’t forget that your children learn from you. You are one of their teachers. What you say often goes. You have to work hard as role models of this next generation to teach your children what it means to consent.
This subject, while quite daunting (especially when it comes to sexual consent), is crucial to empowering children and making sure they understand what is right and wrong.
2) Their opinion matters.
While your child is far from being grown up, his or her feelings still matter. Seeking to understand your child and their needs goes a long way. You will not always understand what your child wants or needs, but listening and seeking to understand provides them with a level of respect that is crucial to making a connection.
3) “Yes” and “no” matter – and can change.
Teaching your child that their “no” matters is important. Also, understanding that that “no” could become a “yes” one day is important to remember. Your child may not want to try out for the swim team one day, but that doesn’t mean they won’t ever want to.
4) Patience and understanding are key.
Any parent knows that being a parent is hard. When you show your child understanding, you communicate to them not only that their opinion matters but also that you respect them. In the long run, having mutual respect is always beneficial.
No matter the age of your child, you can support your child’s future by having these important conversations with them early on in their lives.