Boundaries, Y’all!Posted: October 19, 2020
Speaking frankly and simply to children about consent and body boundaries is incredibly important. Knowing how to navigate this necessary conversation, before they are old enough to warrant one about sexuality, can be tricky. Stranger danger warnings and training is all well and good, but considering that 90% of child sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator, “Don’t talk to strangers,” is not sufficient. My Body Is My Own by Lauren K. Carlson, is an excellent, easy to read, easy to understand book, which brings to light the nuances of body ownership–such as right to privacy, privacy vs. secrecy, choice over displays of affection, establishment of boundaries, respect of others,etc. — all in a positive and helpful tone.
Each page declares a simple truth about children protecting their bodies and respecting those around them, and are accompanied by illustrations that artfully express the emotions involved. The words are easy to understand for children and make the topic of body ownership matter-of-fact, comparing positive acts like brushing their teeth and wearing a seat belt, to establishing boundaries for how/if they want to be touched. I love the emphasis on affirming yourself as a safe adult to come to with anything/anyone they feel uncomfortable about. By reading My Body is My Own to your child, you are opening a line of communication between you both that will hopefully be a lifelong channel of security and understanding. This book also sheds light on the character of people around your child, and clarifies that a good friend will respect boundaries, and as a good friend, so should your child respect the boundaries of others.
It is never too early to start speaking to children about body ownership and consent. Reading it to toddlers will introduce the language surrounding their bodies in a healthy way, and the topics can be explored more thoroughly as your child ages, and has more questions. My Body Is My Own is a great jumping off point for knowledge and conversation. I cannot recommend it enough and know that I will be gifting it to many kiddos in my life.