Simple Tips On Being A Sex-Positive Parent.
- Teach consent as early as possible - see below.
- Teach that masturbation is normal - it's a healthy part of development and is actually good for us. Teaching children that masturbation is shameful leads to negative patterns in future development, and many individuals experience feelings of abnormality - we all have a right to explore our bodies. This resource is fab.
- Teach that they do not owe their body to anyone, ever - and vice versa.
- Teach the anatomically correct words for their bodies - teaching them to call their genitals 'moo moo' or even 'front bottom', makes it super hard to identify if they are having a problem or, to the extreme if they are being abused - example story here. On top of this, we are adding to the shame that they shouldn't be talking about their genitals.
How Can I Teach My Child Consent?
Teaching consent is an important part of educating your child about sexual health and life in general. It is a fundamental concept that can be learnt at any age and also means they will learn to respect the choice of others in any scenario.
In the UK at primary school, consent is taught through everyday games and teaching. It is then taught explicitly in secondary through RSE (sex ed).
Here are some top tips:
- Teach kids to ask permission before touching or hugging someone – “Would you like to give Auntie Jo a hug?” or “Ask Lily if she would like a hug goodbye”. If they say no, teach them that we should listen to and respect their decision.
- Teach kids that ‘no‘ and ‘stop‘ are important words that should be respected – “Just like when the teacher says stop, our friends need to stop when we say no too” and vice versa!
- Talk to them about their ‘Belly Voice’ – teach your kid about their gut feeling and how it is important to listen to it. If they are confused by their feelings, they can come to you for help.
- Encourage kids to wash their genitals – parents need to help sometimes but explaining that keeping ‘down there’ clean is important is a great way to encourage body pride and a sense of ownership. You can also model consent by asking for permission to help wash your child’s body.
- Teach kids to help others who may be in trouble and alert trusted grownups
- Help create empathy within your child by explaining how something they have done may have hurt someone – “I know you wanted that toy, but when you hit Mikey, it hurt him and he felt sad. We don't want Mikey to feel sad”
- Allow your child to talk about their body in any way they want without shame – teach them the correct names for their body parts.
Great Books For Teaching Consent
Books are a great way of teaching consent to young kids in a subtle way. We have put together a list of our favourite ones. (All descriptions are from Amazon)
Consent (for kids!)
With clear explanations, fun illustrations, and expertly-presented information, Consent (for Kids!) is an empowering introduction to consent, bodily autonomy, and how to respect yourself and others.
This humorous and insightful book from the co-creator of the viral “Tea Consent” video is the perfect teaching tool, conversation starter, and insightful, empowering resource for educators, kids, and families everywhere.
Will The Ladybug Hug?
You loved Will Bear Share? and Will Sheep Sleep?, now get to know Ladybug in a hilarious new high-fiving and hugging-themed addition to creator Hilary Leung’s animal books!
This is a great way of teaching your young child about consent in a subtle way!
Don’t Touch My Hair!
This humorous picture book speaks to a national conversation on strangers touching black hair and sparks an important conversation on personal boundaries for children as Aria explains that her hair should not be touched without asking for permission first. Commercial, imaginative and fun, Don’t Touch My Hair! can be used to teach young readers about personal boundaries and asking for permission – and that it’s all right to be told “no” as well.
Can I Give You A Squish?
Kai is a little mer-boy who’s big on hugs–or “squishes,” as he and his mama call them. But not everyone’s a fan of Kai’s spirited embrace, which he discovers soon after squishing a puffer fish, who swells up in fright! Kai feels awful; but with the help of his friends, he figures out another way to show his affection, and then everyone demonstrates their preferred ways of being greeted. Because, as Kai realizes, “Every fish likes their own kind of squish.”
Miles Is The Boss Of His Body
The latest instalment in The Mother Company’s award-winning “MILES” series, Miles Is The Boss Of His Body is a fun, engaging way to explore the potentially difficult topic of kids’ safety. On his 6th birthday, Miles’ excitement is dimmed when he finds himself being pinched, noogied, hugged too tight, picked up and tickled by his well-intentioned family and decides he’s had enough! When Miles decrees that he is the “Boss of his body,” his whole family expresses support and respect for his boundaries. In a colourful, comic-book style, young kids will laugh while learning this potentially life-saving concept that can benefit them for years to come.
‘C’ Is For Consent
The book teaches that it is okay for kids to say no to hugs and kisses and that what happens to their bodies is up to them. This helps children grow up confident in their bodies, comfortable with expressing physical boundaries, and respectful of the boundaries of others. Full colour.