Parents & guardians play a critical role in modeling and teaching consent skills to the children they love. This toolkit provides trusted adults with an overview of information about consent and some tips for talking about and teaching consent to the young people in your life.
Consent is the foundation for nearly every healthy relationship in life and involves giving and seeking permission to participate in activities together. Giving and seeking consent are life skills that impact every relationship, not just sexual or romantic relationships. When we seek consent before moving forward with an action, we acknowledge the other person’s rights and choices.
Parents, guardians, and trusted adults play a critical role in modeling and teaching consent skills for the children they love. Here are some tips for practicing and modeling consent skills at home:
Model consent in daily interactions by asking permission & respecting when the answer is “no”:
- “Would you like a hug?”
- “Is it okay if I tell _____ what you shared with me?”
- “Can I borrow your…?”
- “No? Okay, I respect that.”
Encourage family members and other adults to ask for consent before hugging a child
Give children choices about how to greet or say goodbye to others (“Would you like to hug, high-five, or wave goodbye to…?”)
Share with children that they are the boss of their own bodies. Practice what they can do or say if they do not want to share affection or don’t want someone to touch them.
Teach children that seeking consent isn’t just about listening for a ‘no.’ Encourage them to listen for an affirmative “yes!” and pay attention to body language and facial expressions.
Sexual consent is an agreement to participate in a particular sexual activity. Consenting and asking for consent are all about setting personal boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others. Both people must agree to sex – every single time – for it to be consensual. Sexual consent must be:
- Freely Given: Consenting is a choice made without pressure, manipulation, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Reversible: Anyone can change their mind about what they feel like doing at any time.
- Informed: Consent is only possible when everyone has the whole story and everyone is honest. For instance, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then don’t, that’s not consent.
- Enthusiastic: When it comes to sex, people should only do things they really want to do.
- Specific: Saying yes to one thing (like making out) doesn’t mean you’ve said yes to other things (like having sex).
There are laws in Oklahoma that apply to sexual consent. In Oklahoma, the age of consent is 16. Anyone younger than 16 cannot consent to sexual activity.
Teaching young people how to give clear, confident, enthusiastic, and active consent allows them to find and use their voices and stand up for their wants, needs, and desires in all relationships.
- Ask your teen what their boundaries are related to sex and relationships. Encourage your teen to identify their values and limits.
- Practice with your teen! Help them identify ways they can seek consent from others and words they can say to set limits.
- Help your teen identify how they would handle a situation where someone is not respecting their boundaries.
- Help your teen identify ways they can seek help from trusted adults at home, at school, or within the community if they know about a sexual assault that has occurred.
- Questions you can ask your teen to start the conversation:
- Tell me what you know about consent…
- How do you know if someone is giving consent?
- How would you communicate consent?
- What would you do if something is happening that violates your boundaries?
- What would you do if you knew someone was violating the boundaries of one of your friends?
- What are some ways you can protect yourself?