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Talking to our sons about respect and consent in their relationships

(19 Posts)
Moln Wed 13-May-15 21:37:33

DS1 is 12 soon, he got the 'The Talk' from me a few years ago when he asked. We went through the Usbourne book, which was great as it went through feelings and emotion too.

Recently a doctor come into his school and talked to them about puberty and sex, out of interest i asked if she had talked to them about respect, he said she hadn't. I then, briefly spoke to him that when he was older, and got the feelings the doctor has just talked to him about, it was very important that no matter how strong his feelings were about a girl that he needed to understand that she needed to feel the same and wanted to do the things he wanted too. Mentioned that even if all his friends said they were having sex he shouldn't feel he should too, nor should he make anyone feel bad for not.

he's still quite young (all seems a bit yuck to him) but what is the best way to talk to boys about respect and consent?

OinkBalloon Thu 14-May-15 00:19:47

There was a thread a few weeks ago using being offered a cup of tea as an analogy for consent. If your ds likes analogies, it might be useful.

LittleLionMansMummy Thu 14-May-15 09:46:11

I think boys do well from having a strong male role model talking to them about these things. At least that's what I've told my dh! I expect him to play the fullest part instilling these values.

Apart from that we've just begun early, by talking to ds (4) about personal boundaries. This has included stopping tickling him as soon as he says 'stop' and reinforcing that 'no means no' (which he has repeated back to us on several occasions so we know it's sinking in). We've explained that when he's playing rough and tumble if the other child says 'no' then it has to stop immediately. No experience of older boys, but expect it's an extension of this early learning.

BathtimeFunkster Thu 14-May-15 09:53:38

The cup of tea analogy is for explaining consent in a slightly sarcastic way to men who refuse to get it.

It's not at all appropriate for a young boy.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Thu 14-May-15 09:53:52

I guarantee your 12 year old has seen hardcore porn. Talking about respect is very important indeed. We need to also instill proper expectations in our children in terms of what a loving relationship looks like: caring, respectful and consensual. NOT a gang bang with lots of anal sad

Hakluyt Thu 14-May-15 09:56:07

"It's not at all appropriate for a young boy."

Why on Earth not?

BathtimeFunkster Thu 14-May-15 09:58:35

Like I said, because it is sarcastic in tone and explaining the bleeding obvious to people (men) who pretend there are grey areas.

This is a young boy.

The purpose of teaching him about respect and consent is to avoid him ever becoming one of the rapey men the cup of tea thing is addressed to.

TheCowThatLaughs Thu 14-May-15 10:11:20

I think the cup of tea thing is good for everybody really. Even me, as a middle aged woman, just to remind me where my boundaries are. I will be showing it to my ds when he's older.

Hakluyt Thu 14-May-15 10:15:18

Really? I don't think it's sarcastic in tone at all. It's an analogy. 12 year olds understand analogies. It applies to all sorts of things- not just sex. And it's not too heavy.

But I think the whole idea of making bodily autonomy and consent part of our children's mental furniture from early on is vital.

FujimotosElixir Thu 14-May-15 10:15:24

whats the cup of tea thing? Heart, he may not have ,your post migt upset the OP you should have thought about that more its obscene sad

flanjabelle Thu 14-May-15 10:17:13

Could ssomeone Link the cup of tea thing for me please?

flanjabelle Thu 14-May-15 10:18:44

I think you are doing really well so far op. It's such an important subject, good on you for broaching it with your ds.

ArcheryAnnie Thu 14-May-15 10:22:35

I think the trick is to start as early as you can, and just discuss it whenever it arises - and it's amazing how often it does arise, when you look.

Eg, a year or two back, when that (awful, cheesy) BBC Saturday night family fantasy drama Atlantis started, there was an episode that focused on Hercules giving a woman a love potion so she'd fall in love with him. It was played for laughs, but DS and I ended up having a good discussion about whether it was a good thing for Herc (a hero in the series) to do, or whether drugging someone so they will do what you want is ever a good thing.

BathtimeFunkster Thu 14-May-15 11:41:09

The point of the tea analogy is to make male entitlement to sex ridiculous by comparing it to a completely unrelated and banal activity with which it shares almost no points of comparison.

It's a form of reductio ad absurdum. Having sex is nothing at all like offering a person a cup of tea, and the humour of the piece comes from the fact that anybody might try to force a person to drink tea when they don't want to.

It's not an analogy that is going to shed much light for a child who has never had sex, and might not even drink tea, and who is hopefully still unaware of the way that sex is pushed on women and girls.

Hakluyt Thu 14-May-15 11:44:43

"It's not an analogy that is going to shed much light for a child who has never had sex, and might not even drink tea, and who is hopefully still unaware of the way that sex is pushed on women and girls."

I have higher expectations of the understanding and empathy of 12 year olds than you do. And I would be horrified if I raised a child to 12 without them being aware of pressure put on women and girls- and boys- around sex.

TheCowThatLaughs Thu 14-May-15 11:54:19

Even if a 12 year old didn't know about women and girls being pressurised for sex, as a parent I would feel that it was about tin we had the conversation. The cup of tea a analogy is good precisely because it makes it very clear how ridiculous and wrong it is to coerce anyone into sex.
I've been at the receiving end of more than my fair share of coerced sex over a period of about 10 years, so I'm all for anything that makes women/girls/men/boys aware

Moln Thu 14-May-15 12:24:49

I'm not sure it can be guaranteed he's seen hardcore porn at 11, (usage reports I get haven't marked anything) but I think it can be guaranteed he will, even if he doesn't look for it and just puts 'boobs' into google it'll be there with or without his choice.

I just think it's massively important that when he is being informed about sex, that he also gets informed about consent, there's mention of hetro and homosexual attractions they might feel, and there's mention of feeling bad because you have developed later that others etc etc. But nothing about consent. I need him to understand that even at a point where he's overwhelmed with sexual desire for a person he cannot coerce them into sex. More importantly he needs to understand what that coercing is. Which the cup of tea analogy is good for (actually forgotten about that when I typed). The cup of tea thing is supposed to highlight you would do the same with tea as you would with sex, because you know what a refusal is with the tea but male entitlement to sex seems to prevent that when it comes to sexual consent. (I'm gabbling here and probably not making sense)

I agree that his father talking to him would be good. But I'm not sure how comfortable he'd be (personally I think you just need to overcome it and tell your children but DH is still uncomfortable not an unusual feeling)

As far as I know DS does feel attracted to any girl yet. I'm not going to start a conversation out the blue about it.

DS has said to me that he thinks more is expected from girls in having to look nice and behave more politely but I'm not sure he's aware what sexual pressure is on them. He had asked what rape is though. (News on the radio as far as I'm aware)

I'm actually considering contacting the school and asking for the doctors contact to see if she did actually speak to them about it. I feel it's very important.

Moln Thu 14-May-15 12:25:56

*he doesn't feel attraction to girls

proudmama2772 Thu 14-May-15 12:44:36

My son is 10 and he gets this concept. A girl in his school falsely accused him of touching her - she later apologized. He complained to his teacher. Before that he said to me "Do you remember what you told me about Chet Evans? About you have to be so careful you are not doing something a girl doesn't want. This girl is spreading rumors about me and I've never touched her."

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