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Advice on discussing consent and treating girls like human beings chat for 8 year old

(35 Posts)
ageingrunner Mon 17-Oct-16 12:45:17

I'm not sure if the cup of tea analogy is too old for him? Has anyone successfully had this conversation? I thought I could wait a while but reading the sexual assault thread has made me realise that young children are involved in sexual assaults sad

TheSnorkMaidenReturns Mon 17-Oct-16 12:51:10

Just keep saying it.
I've used the cup of tea video but mine were over 8 by the time I saw it. Depends on child if it works.
I have the conversation whenever the opportunity presents itself. Its not a 'one convo' issue - it's a mindset.
I started by keeping it short and sweet and now we talk a bit more, but they don't want a lecture, they want simple messages repeated.
I reckon the 8-puberty is the crucial age for getting this mindset right, so have made an effort to tackle it frequently!

ageingrunner Mon 17-Oct-16 12:53:16

Yes good idea. I'll start mentioning it casually instead of lecturing. He did ask me what rape was the other day but said he couldn't remember where he'd heard it hmm

claraschu Mon 17-Oct-16 13:02:17

I don't think 8 year olds really understand sex/violence/rape issues. I am all for talking about everything to do with sex very early and often and am not embarrassed by these conversations; I just think you have to talk about things in a context they can understand.

At this age, I would discourage and challenge even the mildest sexist or gendered talk. I would also encourage bodily autonomy, and just general respect for other people.

SolomanDaisy Mon 17-Oct-16 13:08:41

My DS and his class had their first lesson on sexual intimidation at school last week. He's five. It was discussed in terms that are relevant to their age e.g. you don't look at people's bodies when they're changing for gym, you don't comment on bodies, you don't touch when people don't want you to, how to say no and tell someone if it happens to you. This is in the Netherlands, so they started sex ed last year. I started with saying 'it's only fun if everyone is having fun' before that.

Bitofacow Mon 17-Oct-16 13:09:10

My boys are older (14 17), but when I told them that I had been groped they were shocked speechless.

I can be an intimidating presence (hmm and the idea it had happened to me really impacted on them. I think they believed (hoped?expected?) it only happened to other/weak/drunk/silly women.

My DM and I had a conversation with my DS along the lines of the "who hasn't been assaulted" thread. We were NOT graphic or specific but we were clear.

We also discussed what they would do if they saw it happening. Obviously your D's is 8 so you need to be careful but in the light of the news and some of the threads this weekend we all need to be having some kind of conversation about this with sons and daughters.

Good topic, needs to be discussed.

ageingrunner Mon 17-Oct-16 13:10:38

I do challenge sexism etc. Have told him about the underwear rule. I need to incorporate respect for others and empathy about how someone else might feel in this context more though I think.

ageingrunner Mon 17-Oct-16 13:15:11

That sounds really good Soloman, I wish schools here would do the same. Not to let me off the hook, to back me up!
I was considering how much to disclose about my own experience today BitOf. Obviously not at this age but when he's a bit older I think I will share what has happened to me, as you say without going in to detail. I really don't want him to become part of the problem. He already points it out when he thinks something is sexist.

AllTheShoes Mon 17-Oct-16 13:23:07

I had this conversation with my 8yo this weekend - she'd been reading Little Women and we ended up talking about how women couldn't control how many babies they had, and the effect that had on them. Which led on to why couldn't they control whether they had babies (no medicine that worked), why couldn't they just not have sex (if their husband wanted to he could make them). I added that this was now against the law, and talked a bit about the cup of tea analogy because it seemed to make sense at that point in the conversation. She definitely understood it (though I did realise that the Usbourne book had left some gaping holes in her knowledge about how /when / if women get pregnant, which I remedied).

scallopsrgreat Mon 17-Oct-16 13:23:11

My sons are younger (one is 7) but I've talked to them in a wider context of not touching people where and when they don't want to be touched. Only with their consent (I didn't use that word btw). Everyone, including them, have the right not to be touched if they don't want to. I haven't mentioned rape at all. That would be so far over their heads.

Small steps at this age I think.

MostlyHet Mon 17-Oct-16 13:24:59

I saw your post on the other thread, ageing and I'm so glad you started this one. My DS is also 8 and I've realised that it's getting to the stage where I need to start talking more about the specifics with him. I hope I've already been laying the groundwork - your body is your own, you get to say who looks at it or touches it, the same goes for other people's - they get to say who looks/touches their body. And rough and tumble has to be something everyone's enjoying - if someone says stop, you stop. That applies to tickling, play fighting etc.

But I've noticed that kids his age do mimic the sexualised behaviour of adults and older siblings - twerking, hip thrusting, etc. So I had to sit him down the other day and try to find an age appropriate way of explaining why this wasn't right - that for instance, hip thrusting in grown ups towards someone just quietly minding their own business was often the start of more and worse unwanted behaviour, which is why you shouldn't copy that behaviour, even as a joke.

Argh. I wanted him to have a few more years of childhood. But sooner or later, someone's elder sibling's going to show them porn on a smart phone, then they'll all start looking out of curiosity, and I have to pre-empt that so he knows that crap is nasty and bears no resemblance to proper, consensual, mutually enjoyable relationships between adults. All without introducing age-inappropriate stuff myself. I don't want him psychologically damaged by this crap. I don't want him buying into the misogynistic crap fest that is available a few swipes away on a smart phone.

He is pretty good at spotting sexism, though. And very caring towards others. I have to just pray that those are the foundations I can build on to get him through the next 8 years safely.

scallopsrgreat Mon 17-Oct-16 13:25:55

Also talked about raising it with an adult they trusted if someone did touch them when/in a way they didn't want to.

Bitofacow Mon 17-Oct-16 13:30:13

And what would they to if they saw it happening to someone else?

Men need to take responsibility for other men and not leave it to women.

scallopsrgreat Mon 17-Oct-16 13:31:25

Good point Bitofacow.

ageingrunner Mon 17-Oct-16 13:35:06

Yy to the hip thrusting and twerking Mostly. I've been ignoring it a bit really but your post has made me realise I do need to tell him that it is often unwanted and can upset people. And not wanting to traumatise him but also needing to make sure that he doesn't have a gap in his knowledge about all this. His dad's partner has a slightly older boy and I'm terrified that he's going to end up seeing porn soon. I also want to ensure that he feels he can talk to me when it (inevitably) happens

ageingrunner Mon 17-Oct-16 13:37:09

I've mentioned about telling an adult scallops, but will keep reinforcing that.
Very important too to tell him that standing by while something bad happens to someone else is not an option BitOf
Thanks everyone smile

ageingrunner Mon 17-Oct-16 13:38:59

I don't mean btw that I accept it as inevitable that his dad's step son will show him porn, just that it will happen at some point 😔

ChocChocPorridge Mon 17-Oct-16 13:48:21

Doc McStuffins (which is the other side, being too young for an 8 year old I'd think) did it with tickling, which I thought was a pretty gentle yet good introduction to the subject.

ageingrunner Mon 17-Oct-16 15:38:08

Thanks Choc I'll have a look at that too smile

MrsFionaCharming Tue 18-Oct-16 00:09:11

Something I teach the children I work with is 'personal bubbles'. The idea being everyone has a bubble of personal space around them, and you should ask before entering someone else's personal bubble. Due to the nature of bubbles, some days they're big and people like to be left alone, and some days they're small and they enjoy hugs / being tickled. But because it changes, you have to ask every time.

MrsHathaway Tue 18-Oct-16 08:08:36

* I hope I've already been laying the groundwork - your body is your own, you get to say who looks at it or touches it, the same goes for other people's - they get to say who looks/touches their body. And rough and tumble has to be something everyone's enjoying - if someone says stop, you stop. That applies to tickling, play fighting etc.*

This is what we've gone for. With three very physical boys it's a conversation we have very often. They are currently all obsessed with their respective penises so the refrain "willies are private" is on a loop.

HalfShellHero Tue 18-Oct-16 10:23:52

Isn't 8 a little early perhaps? My daughter is 7 he doesn't know what sex is even,

Bitofacow Tue 18-Oct-16 10:29:10

Half - Which is why "willies are private"

cheapandcheerful Tue 18-Oct-16 10:37:02

I have also been wondering about this with regards to 6yo dd.

Her supply teacher called me over on Friday and said that there had been an incident with her and a boy in her class kissing on the lips during their 'wedding game' at playtime. She obviously told them that it wasn't appropriate. I have since discussed with dd. She said that the Year 3 children were getting them to do it.

I told her that next time she just needs to say no but I think this necessitates a broader conversation with her and I'm not sure where to start.

I didn't anticipate this yet sad

SweetGrapes Tue 18-Oct-16 10:37:22

I have had a similar conversation but in a different context with my kids since they were about 3 or 4. Basically, if you are having fun but the other person isn't laughing/ doesn't like it then you need to stop. This was about taking toys, fighting type play - but I was struck by how similar it is to anything else.

Equally, I try to say that if people are doing something you don't like (eg . Tickling) say Stop or come and tell me. Obv try and vary the message.

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