While we’re all well versed in the importance of “no means no,” parenting lessons about consent often take a back seat until that dreaded pre-teen talk.

However, in the video below, Parenting Gently explores the idea that teaching your kids about consent might just be vital in helping prevent child sexual abuse.

We often are forcing our kids to hug relatives that to them they don’t even remember, very distant relatives, and we wonder why sexual abuse is so frequently a family member and why the kids didn’t tell mom and dad when they’ve been taught their whole lives that they should respect their elders, that they should be giving physical affection to family members, so it becomes very hard for them to say ‘I was touched in an inappropriate way.’

So this one has a very big implication right now for child sexual abuse. You really want your kids to know that they could say no and they never have to be touched in a way that they don’t wanna be touched, and also for when they’re older so that they feel like whenever they get that feeling in their stomach that ‘I don’t wanna do this next thing. I don’t wanna be touched in this way” that they know that they can say no.

If that caught your attention, get this:

She also shares four ways we might accidently be undermining our children’s ability to develop those healthy boundaries. And in doing so, we’re putting our kids at greater risk for being unable to speak up when it really matters.

We’ve modeled for them that size equals power, age equals power, you know whatever characteristic there might be equals power, and that means that your ideas are less than that person who has the power.

So how to think about consent, not only as it applies to sexual relationships as your kids enter the teen years, but in a way that can reinforce the decisions that young children make?

What Do You Think?

Parenting advice is often easier doled out than put into practice. Afer all, everyone’s seen grandma’s face fall with little Timmy or Sarah doesn’t want to give an extra hug.

So how do you balance the lessons that elderly family members should be treated with kindness or the importance of expressing preferences while still showing good manners?