Every day in April, I’ll be posting a video about one of the questions in my guide, (Over) 100 Questions To Ask Your Kids About Sexuality. The guide is free and if you don’t have it, you can get it by clicking here.
This is our second question in a row for school-age kids. Today we’re asking them: “How does it feel to say “no” to someone you like?”
You can use this question to open up your first conversation related to consent. Because we’re talking to children, we aren’t getting into sexual consent, but we are helping them acknowledge the reality that it can be hard to say “no” to somebody we like or love, and hopefully we can build on these early conversations later if our kids do choose to date or have sex.
Not as simple as “just say no”.
Some kids aren’t at all pressed when it comes to asserting their boundaries. If they don’t want to do something, they will let you know! But other kids may struggle to a bit when it comes to saying “no”.
We can let kids know that when we don’t want like playing with a friend, or we don’t feel like giving our aunty a kiss, it’s can feel uncomfortable or even scary to say “no”. Maybe we’re worried about hurting their feelings or that they’ll be mad at us?
You can let your kids know that they’re always allowed to speak up when something feels wrong. You can also acknowledge that sometimes people do get upset or feel hurt when we tell them “no”. It doesn’t feel good for us when our friends or family are sad. But your child doesn’t have to give or receive affection or play a game that makes your child feel sad just so that other people don’t feel bad. It’s wonderful to be kind and to think of others, but we shouldn’t have to sacrifice our own well-being.
Hopefully, this will be the first conversation of many about setting boundaries. The point of these types of talks is to help our kids build a foundation so that they have the tools and the emotional strength to say “no” when they need to.
Keep working on it and hopefully, by the time your child is old enough for a sexual relationship, it will be easier for them to assert themselves in situations that don’t serve them…even if their partner doesn’t like it.