Mum of two shares the importance of teaching kids about consent from an early age.

Sharing her experience on Facebook the mum wrote, “One day recently my three-year-old asked me to tickle him. I knew that tickling could be one of those activities that could move quickly from fun into boundary transgression, and kids often nervously laugh and tolerate touch they’re not sure they want.

I wanted to connect with him playfully in the way he was asking, and I wanted to model safe physical experiences for him at the same time.

“If you start to feel like you don’t like it, you can tell me to stop,” I said.

“Stop,” he said, testing it. I stopped.

“Go,” he said, laughing. I tickled again.

“Stop.” “Go.” We practiced for a few rounds, with him seamlessly taking the lead with guiding the touch.

“And if I ever tickle you somewhere that doesn’t feel good, you can say, ‘I don’t like that’.”

“I don’t like that,” he practiced.

But we’re not just teaching our kids about the kind of touch to avoid. We also want them to enjoy living in their bodies and to not attach shame to touch that makes them feel good.

“If there’s somewhere you want me to tickle you, you can ask me. Like, ‘Will you tickle my feet?’ Then I get to decide if that’s something I want to do.”

“Will you tickle my feet?” he asked me. “Hmm…Yes, I will. That’s something I would like to do.”

And just like that we practiced boundaries, consent, and normalized pleasure. It’s not one serious, awkward conversation.

It’s not The Sex Talk you’ve known and dreaded. It’s a foundation built over years through affection, conversation, and modeling.

Tenderly, playfully, with curiosity and openness. It’s not solely teaching about sex either; it’s about conveying that we are embodied beings based in sensory experiences, and there are many ways to relish living in a body rich with sensation.”

The reaction

Her post has resonated with thousands of parents attracting nearly 10K shares and 16K reactions.

“Love it ! Great advice for teaching right touch from wrong…..my grandson wouldn’t let the doctor touch him, because he was taught this lesson.”

Another said, “We have been doing this with our kids! And, we use the word consent. We talk about how a sleeping person can’t consent to being tickled. How someone can consent and change their mind. How consenting once doesn’t mean consent is implied later. How a very young person (baby sibling) can’t give consent.”

“That was absolutely wonderful. And to include enjoying the senses of the body…. something I have never herd!
You did this so well,” wrote another.

Catherine Gray is 31 yr old mum of two from Jackson, Mississippi.

She blogs at Unsilenced Woman. Check out more from her on Facebook below.

 

Share your comments below

Read more – Pinky McKay Weighs In On Debate Over Consent Before You Change Nappy


  • Very important subject. A good article to read.

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  • Yes it’s good to practice this for us all.

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  • This is a great simple way to start this lesson.

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  • I do this with my daughter too. Great to teach em young

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  • I’ve always practiced this with my kids. When they say to stop tickling I do. I don’t even force my kids to hug me and they have both exercised this (didn’t hug me for a week, but it was their choice) but we also come right out and tell them nobody is allowed to your your private’s except you! Mummy and daddy need to help you with ur nappy and a doctor sometimes might need to with your permission. It’s a good tactic to teach kids and not a bad idea to explain it in many different ways

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  • Great way to teach our little ones

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  • It sounds like a sensible way to teach consent without going overboard.

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  • I love this. Consent. Do kids officially learn about this? It’s so important from both sides. You need permission or to stop is STOP. I love the saying “No” is a full sentence. No more required.
    And you also can’t be causing trouble for someone with saying stop or no but then yes. Love this consent subject though.

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  • Great article – children should understand that they can say No.

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  • My middle one will tell us when she doesn’t feel like a hug. She usually looks for extras if she’s upset about something. Our little one still loves tickles. She will say no and move away when she’s had enough. She has tickly spots on her collar bone and behind her ears She’s a real “giggler” We went to the movies one night to see Frozen. Before that started they had a short Mickey Mouse one. She was only 15 months old but she giggled all the way through it.

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  • A good read…. we must encourage the kids to understand..!!

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  • I think this is something that some children will do instinctively (that is, give and take away consent), whereas other children might be too afraid to take away consent and need to be reassured that this is something they must do when they feel uncomfortable.

    Reply

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