Tag Archives: boundaries

Never Too Early to Start: How to Teach Children About Consent

Abuse, domestic violence, and rape have been making rounds in media and the community, and a lot of parents are alarmed how the victim could have been their child.

Children, even at a young age, can learn about boundaries and consent. While a lot of parents worry that it may tarnish their children’s innocence, teaching them about consent does not have to be explicit and full of terms. They can package it in a way that is age-appropriate and understandable in the language their children speak. Here are examples parents can teach pre-school children about the importance of consent.

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Image source: thekitchentablenetwork.com

Give them the freedom to express their opinion

A child learns best by example. Parents can teach consent and boundaries by giving their children the freedom to make their own choices and voice out their own opinion while being in the boundaries of what has to happen.

For example, parents can invite the child to sleep by asking them which pajama they want to use to bed. When preparing for breakfast, they can ask the child which cereal they want to start the day with.

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Image source: handinhandparenting.org

Teach them to ask for permission

Parents can start by teaching children to ask for permission when they want something. A simple “can I play with the robot today?” can teach children about good behavior. Beyond sharing what they already have, asking for permission goes a long way.

Let them know that “no” is a valid answer

Just because they asked for permission, it doesn’t mean that a “yes” can be automatically given. Teaching children that giving and receiving a “no” (but not the unnecessarily rude “no”) is okay and normal.

Dr. Jonathan Lauter is a child and adolescent psychiatrist based in New York. Read similar articles by visiting this blog.

 

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