So recently I read an article on The Good Men Project about how to talk to your kids about sex/consent from age 1-21. It sounds scary and everyone I've told about this the initial facial expression is usually "Wha? Are you kidding me?" Listen, they're not promoting telling your kids what goes where and how to please your partner. That would be inappropriate These are good guys. The idea is to start out talking to your kids about consent. This is crucial. I work on a college campus and I know the issues students have with consent. I see the results of not understanding that a person cannot give consent if they're passed out drunk.
Anyway, since my oldest is about to turn 4 on Wednesday (Happy Birthday Jackson!) I figured if the opportunity arose I would start the conversation. Here's is what the article said for his age:
"4. Teach your kids that “no” and “stop” are important words and should be honored. One way to explain this may be, “Sarah said ‘no’, and when we hear ‘no’ we always stop what we’re doing immediately. No matter what.”
Also teach your child that his or her “no’s” are to be honored. Explain that just like we always stop doing something when someone says “no”, that our friends need to always stop when we say “no”, too. If a friend doesn't stop when we say “no,” then we need to think about whether or not we feel good, and safe, playing with them. If not, it’s okay to choose other friends.
If you feel you must intervene, do so. Be kind, and explain to the other child how important “no” is. Your child will internalize how important it is both for himself and others."
The next day I was giving Jackson his bath and the opportunity presented itself. I was playing Pandora on shuffle and MC Hammer's "You Can't Touch This" came on. He'd heard this song and we'd danced to it before. It clicked that this song would help me talk to him about consent. Recently he didn't want me to wash his penis because he said it tickled so I told him he was not in charge of keeping it clean and handed him the washcloth. He was excited about having this responsibility so I figured he'd be open to the rest of the conversation. Here's how it went down:
Me: "You know, this song is a good way for you to learn something new."
Him: What's that?
Me: Remember how I said that Mommy wasn't going to wash your "pee pee" for you anymore? Well, no one but you should touch your "pee pee". So if anyone every tries to touch you there, you can say "Stop! You can't touch this!"
Him: Yeah, and then I can just dance out of the room!
LOL! I was totally not expecting that reaction from him. I had to stop from laughing too much so he wouldn't think what I was saying was a joke. I wanted to roll on the floor laughing though because I could just see him trying to dance like MC Hammer out of a room.
I also talked to him about what "stop" meant and how when Mommy or Daddy telling him to stop doing something then he should stop right away and he should expect the same thing when he tells someone to stop.