The consent topic seems to be everywhere right now.
It’s a concept everyone needs to understand. It applies to situations that occur every day to everyone.
Last year, Australia’s education ministers unanimously agreed to mandate consent education in schools.
It means all Australian schools are now required to teach age-appropriate consent education – which includes coercion, gendered stereotypes and power imbalances – from Prep to Year 10.
Currently, one in five women in Australia has experienced some form of sexual violence, with one in four of these being under 18 at the time. Evidence shows preventive education, including information on consent, is a powerful tool in reducing sexual assault.
But how do you introduce the concept of consent to very young children and primary school age children?
Whilst it might seem like a topic that can wait until kids are older, you can help children learn about consent, long before the topic is related to sex.
Australian parenting website, raisingchildren.net.au (which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services) lists these simple everyday ways to introduce the concept of consent to young children:
As children get older, common social situations can provide opportunities to reinforce consent, respect and personal boundaries. These suggestions from raisingchildren.net.au show how easy it is to introduce an age-appropriate awareness of consent issues.
Having small talks with your child at various stages of the parenting journey is a good way to break down a big topic into a smaller more manageable conversation. This helps build confidence, promote assertive behaviour and reinforce the idea that consent forms part of respectful relationships.