Teaching Consent and Bodily Integrity to Children – Why it’s Important and How to do it.

We forget, often enough, that most of what we learn happens when we’re young. The important things, like manners, values, morals, and core skills like speech and toilet training are all done while our brains are still mailable and building connections and pathways. This slows down as we get older, and learning new skills and behaviours becomes harder (although not impossible, it turns out you CAN teach and old dog new tricks) and so it’s important that we teach children everything they need to know about the world to stay safe and comfortable at a young age. But we all too often forget consent, and bodily integrity, and desperately try to teach those to older children and teens who often don’t care to hear what their oh-so-out of touch parents have to say. Before people freak out, I’m not talking about having the S-E-X talk with your two year old, I think in the grand scheme of things to do so would be a bit of a reach intellectually, but you can teach children about consent without ever talking about sex, and in turn we can grow a generation of children that understand that someones body is their own, and no-one else has a right to touch it without consent. We can have a generation that doesn’t see pinging bra straps and grabbing buttocks as acceptable, a generation who will never brag about grabbing women “by the pussy”, a generation where ‘kissing pranks’ are not a thing, a generation that knows that to respect someone is to respect ALL of them, body as well as mind.

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