LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.
Today’s topic: 6 ways to teach young kids about consent.
We’re continuing our look at teaching young kids about serious topics involving our bodies, and today we get into consent. Child development experts say it’s extremely important to teach young children about consent — so they can properly act around others, seek help if they find themselves in a potentially uncomfortable situation, and take these social skills into adulthood.
Doctor Megan Maas with Michigan State University says parents need to communicate with their kids how to notice actions or reactions from other kids when they’re out playing, to make sure everyone is having a good time.
“If somebody is pulling away, telling you no, running away, or seem uncomfortable with their face, that means we need to stop what we are doing. Sometimes those no’s are verbally said, but other times those no’s are said with their body, and so communicating to your kids about those things when they play with others is important.”
Here are 6 ways from various experts from popsugar.com that’ll help teach your kids what consent means:
*properly name and explain body parts. Using slang terms for private parts isn’t the worst thing in the world, but you need to start teaching your child the actual names of body parts, to help remove any mystery.
*Explain that different relationships have different types of touch. This involves interactions with other family members, teachers, friends, community helpers, and strangers — and should include how social, boundary, and distance rules apply to these relationships.
*Use language your children will understand. Parents of older children can engage in more detailed conversations about consent and rights, but young kids benefit better if we use language and methods when we consider the child’s age.
*Model behaviors showing how to ask for consent. For example, experts say, ask permission before you show affection, even to your own kids, and this will naturally teach children about consent.
*Don’t undermine the consent lessons with your own behavior. We’re not perfect, but when teaching your kids about consent, it’s important to not unintentionally undermine these lessons by our own actions
*Teach your child that “No” is final.
Experts say, talking with your kids about consent should be ongoing and never just a one-and-done conversation.