Should Parents Teach Consent to Toddlers?!

Playing Should Toddlers Be Educated about Consent?

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One mother shares on social media her story of teaching her 3-year-old son consent and while some people commend her, others are critical. The Doctors weigh in with the help of psychotherapist Dr. Mike Dow. The mother wrote that she found out her son kissed a girl at daycare so she asked him if the girl said he could kiss her. When he answered no, the mother told him not to do that again, and that he can only kiss her if she says yes.

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Dr. Dow loves what this mother did! He explains that if these conversations are coming up at such a young age, shouldn’t we educate children? For a child as young as 3 years old, it’s necessary for parents to be very concrete and explain things as black and white. Young children do not have the ability to use abstract reasoning just yet.  

OB/GYN Dr. Nita Landry explains that while most people on social media were supportive of this mother, the naysayers, who were frequently men, insisted the lesson went too far. “I would say to those men… yes we are teaching children younger and younger because hashtag time’s up!”

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Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon says many habits, like those of bullies, start at a young age, so it’s important to nip them in the bud before they worsen. Dr. Dow agrees and says parents need to teach children compassion. He said it needs to be on both ends on the spectrum. Teach and model for kids how someone like grandma might feel sad if you don’t want to give her a hug but also, how if someone gives you a hug or touches you and you don’t feel okay about it, it’s okay to say “no.”