Monday, March 05, 2012

Conversations, part 1: Bodies

There are a few conversations I regularly have with Margaret and intend to keep having them with her and Isaac for some time. They are almost always the same. This week will feature those conversations.

"Margaret, we need to talk."


"You have a body and no one's allowed to touch your body without your permission. Not your tummy, not your back, not your butt, not your elbows, not your vulva, not your hands. None of it. It's your body and your choice. Say that with me, 'My body, my choice.'"

"My body, my choice."

"What if someone touches you and you don't want them to?"

"I say 'stop' and I tell Mommy and Daddy."

"Yes. Even if it's a friend or grown up or anyone?"

"I say 'stop' and tell Mommy and Daddy."

"Yes. What if it's Mommy or Daddy?"

"If it's Mommy, I tell Daddy and if it's Daddy I tell Mommy."

"Yes. Your body, your choice. No one gets to touch you without permission. And always tell us, even if the person says it's a secret. You can tell us anything."

"I don't like Isaac touching me."

"Yeah. He can be a bother sometimes. You tell him to stop. And you don't get to touch him if he doesn't want it. His body, his choice."

End attention span. I have this conversation with Margaret at least a couple of times a month. It's not going to prevent everything, but we have to talk about it. It's usually spurred by me reading something on the Internet about kids getting hurt.

And I do try to give her as much autonomy as I can. Even when I help her wipe after going to the bathroom, I ask her before I wipe her, "May I wipe your vulva/butt?"

Do you have this conversation with your kids? How do they go?


  1. Pretty much the same as you, except I don't think I've ever listed body parts. I also tell my child how proud I am of him whenever he enforces his bodily boundaries with others (adults or children), and I insist on him honoring my own and my partner's bodily integrity and self-determination as well. It's actually sort of shocking to me that so many people *don't* have these conversations routinely--but I know that's the case, and no one ever spoke like that to me when I was a child.

  2. I've had similar conversations with my 2 year old, but I especially liked your wording. I think I'll adopt that in future conversations.

  3. Elisa6:05 PM

    I have the same talks with my kids - almost verbatim! I have also added that not only do we not let people touch, but that we don't even SHOW other people our private areas.

  4. I leave the showing people body parts out because as a family we often sit around naked. But we often talk about bodies and choices, and how people can only touch us without permission if we're in danger, such as when I have to turn Moira around if she's at the curb. I had to make this distinction because the kids are always pulling Moira this way and that and I tell them that she gets to choose where to go. Well, 90% of the time. It's okay to keep someone from being hit by a car!


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