• This Chart by a Teacher Will Help Explain the Meaning of Consent to Your Child

    Everyday situations like giving hugs and borrowing things need consent.
    by Kitty Elicay .
This Chart by a Teacher Will Help Explain the Meaning of Consent to Your Child
PHOTO BY iStock
  • We all want our daughters to grow up empowered and raise sons who are, as they say, "woke," and understand what respecting women truly means. And it starts with teaching them that people should respect their wishes if they say "no" to something. And having that conversation with your kids about what consent is and what giving consent means is vital.

    “The notion of consent may seem very grown-up and like something that doesn’t pertain to children,” explains developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, “but the lessons girls learn when they’re young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to be respected last a lifetime and can influence how she feels about herself and her body as she gets older.”

    More from Smart Parenting

    It is a difficult and confusing topic, but thankfully, Liz Kleinrock, a concerned third-grade teacher in California has created a simple chart to explain it. She uploaded a photo of the chart on her Instagram account, explaining that she created it because she was frustrated with the recent events happening in their country and has spurred the #MeToo movement.

    The chart discusses when a person should ask for consent, how to recognize the act, and what to do if it is denied. In Kleinrock’s post, she says that “role-playing is a great way to reinforce these skills but they must be taught explicitly.”

    In the chart, Kleinrock offered situations when a person needs to ask for consent, and it included giving hugs, borrowing things, touching another person, kissing, sharing, and secrets. She also reiterated that when one gives consent, whether that's a “yes,” “sure,” “okay” it must sound positive or enthusiastic. It's a response that clearly shows that the person is agreeing to the situation — a child will not have to second-guess. 

    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
    More from Smart Parenting

    More importantly, Kleinrock gave situations that were considered gray areas, “like if someone says ‘yes’ but their tone and body language really says ‘no.’”

    What if you really want a hug but the other person doesn’t? Or if the other person says ‘no’ but they’re smiling? What if, you’re in the middle of a hug but the other person changes their mind? All these mean the person is not consenting to the hug. While Kleinrock designed it for 8- and 9-year-olds, there are parts that it would be good for your preschooler to know. 

    Kleinrock says the topic will be a continuous lesson for her students. “If you teach anything in isolation, chances are the students will not retain the information,” she said in an interview with CNN. She’s already posted additional photos on her Instagram where kids show her how they understand consent.

    More from Smart Parenting

    One of the ways was through comic strips. “Today we continued our lessons on consent by writing and illustrating comics that show what consent is, and what consent is not,” Kleinrock writes.

    In one photo, a boy is asking a girl if he could give her a hug. The girl continues to say no, even if the boy says, ‘please.’ In another, the girl gives permission, and the boy says ‘thank you.’

    Another method was through a written assignment where Kleinrock asked the students to explain the importance of consent.

    “Asking for consent is important because if you don’t, they might not trust you the next time you ask,” one of her students wrote.

    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
    More from Smart Parenting

    Though the children already showed a greater understanding of the topic, they were left wondering whether secrets were something that you needed consent to tell, as suggested in her original chart. So Kleinrock created a new chart that differentiated information you should share versus what you shouldn’t share.

    This new chart was important because it allowed the kids to realize what information had the potential to hurt others, such as tattling and gossip, and what important information they needed to divulge to keep other people safe. If someone is being hurt, a victim of hate speech, or if that someone has a dangerous object, it’s time for children to tell an adult. Kleinrock encouraged each kid to draw their “safety network,” or the people they can trust like mom and dad or a big sister, if someone makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

    Unsurprisingly, some parents voiced their concern that their children were too young to be taught consent, but Kleinrock says Citizens of the World Charter School in Los Angeles, California, where she teaches, has been very supportive of her lesson plan. After all, consent is about acceptable behavior and not just sexual behavior. In time, she hopes that both parents and instructors like her realize that teaching kids how to act and treat others is a collective responsibility. “Everyone should be respected no matter what,” she said.

    More from Smart Parenting

View More Stories About
View more articles