More and more, parents and other caring adults are asking us: “Why don’t you have more questions about consent on Kids-Ask?” While we do list the question “What is consent?” on Kids-Ask, many children do not ask questions specific to consent – instead, they often ask questions about relationships or bodies. These questions offer opportunities to weave consent into the conversation, even if the original question didn’t mention it directly.
Sometimes, incorporating consent into your response can involve talking about consent in the Fact or Value portions of your answer. For example, one fact in response to “What is second base?” is, "‘Second base’ means that two people have kissed and maybe touched each other's bodies. It’s important to make sure both people are okay with this beforehand, and it is illegal for a person to touch someone in a sexual way without their consent.” Here, the issue of consent is raised clearly after explaining the definition of “second base.” When answering a question about what to do if someone has a crush on their friend, an answer might be, “This can be a great thing depending on how you both feel about it. If both friends agree and consent to turning their friendship into a relationship, they may already have a good foundation of trust and respect. This could make their new relationship even better.” This fact leans on both friends agreeing, which may be more accessible to young people than “consent.”
Some values about consent can be shared regardless of the question, like, “We never have to share or show our body parts to people if we don't want to.”
Finally, while you can often talk about consent when answering your kids’ questions, you don’t have to wait for them to ask - you can bring up the topic yourself! Use our Script Builder
to plan a conversation and fill in the information that feels right to you. When Starting a Conversation
, there are a lot of possibilities, so we leave plenty of space for you to fill in what works for you. Here’s what a conversation around consent might look like:
- I want to talk to you about [FILL IN TOPIC]. What do you think about that? Something I know about that is [FACT], which I know because [my doctor told me/ I read it in this book / etc.]. I am glad that we are talking about these things. In our family, we believe that [FILL IN THE BLANK].
- I want to talk to you about consent. Have you heard anything about consent recently? Consent means that everyone's body belongs to them, and only they can decide what to do with it. I am glad that we are talking about these things. It is important that you know what consent is, and that you know how to ask for consent, as well as speak up for yourself. If you ever feel uncomfortable about something, know that I am here to help.
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