Don’t Just Talk to Your Daughters…Talk to Your Sons Too
Posted October 11, 2017 by Prairie Wife - 2 comments
Sexual harassment is all over the news thanks to Harvey Weinstein…
And because today is officially the International Day of the Girl, there are a few things I want to say.
Being a parent is hard! I’m not just talking about the long nights, hard decisions and saying things like “use your words” over and over and over again.
Conversations that start with a hug, and continue with trying to talk through tears.
Answering questions while praying that your not royally screwing this whole thing up.
As soon as my kids are about a year old we talk about safe touches and privacy.
The first conversations are simple. As we gave them baths we talked about how only mommy and daddy can touch their private area, and even then only to make sure they are clean and healthy. As they get older we talk about doctors being able to see their bodies but, only if mom and dad are there and after they ask.
When we are potty training we talk about how we need to keep our private areas covered. That we don’t touch other’s private areas. If anyone asks them to do anything that makes them uncomfortable, they need to make a fuss and find a grown up they trust.
We go even more in depth when they head to school at the age of 5. Talking about how our family has no secrets and how to protect themselves.
We explain that mommy and daddy will listen to them, believe them, and protect them no matter what someone else says they may do them.
As I listened to the news this week, I recalled the times in my life when I was mistreated by boys (because real men wouldn’t be disrespectful) with cat calls and whistles, shouted comments, unwanted touches…you name it I’ve had it happen.
To think my daughter won’t experience them too is foolish.
It’s been pretty easy to modify the conversation above to talk about how I want Cowgirl G to react to unwanted attention. We’ve talked about ignoring, we’ve talked about turning around, making eye contact and saying “STOP!” We’ve talked about how to get help, who they can talk to, and safety practices like being aware of your surroundings and the buddy system. We’ve talked about unwanted touches and listening to someone when they say no or stop…even if they were laughing the moment before. We’ve talked about how if friends are saying things that are inappropriate or making you uncomfortable you need to excuse yourself and go away. We’ve practiced appropriate ways to change the subject, to turn down the “will you go on a date/hold hands/kiss me?” in a firm way without hurting feelings.
Does it suck to have to do this? Yes, but to ignore it would be (in my opinion) bad parenting.
Here’s the deal though…
This conversation isn’t just for my daughter.
It’s for my sons too.
We’ve word for word had this same conversation with our sons.
And notice I said WE because my husband, their father, needs to be a part of this too.
Because, if we want things to change, we need to educate both our daughters AND our sons.
We need to expect men AND women to be respectful of boundaries and to show others how they want to be treated by their actions and their words.
Have the awkward conversations, make yourself available to your children, and be an example to them with how you treat your spouse.