December 7

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3 Keys To Teaching Consent And Respecting Boundaries

By Lauren Carlson

December 7, 2020


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My Job Is About Respecting Boundaries And Consent

There comes a moment during small talk with someone new in when they ask what I do for a living.

I have to immediately size this person up to see how deep they want to go. 

Will I give the easy “stay-at-home-mom” response that leads to more chit-chat about my children? Or do I dive in, head first, and say what I really do - but risk a totally awkward and abrupt end to the conversation? 

“I write books on consent for children.”

The sentence is rather mild but for many, consent and sexuality go hand in hand. This means I just mentioned SEX and KIDS during our polite small talk. Oh, the horror!  

What I really do is write books on respecting boundaries but that always leads us back to “consent.”  Hear me out:

The Definition of "Consent":

Consent is a person’s voluntary agreement for some action to occur.


But we have made the word “consent” mean nothing more than an agreement to have sex. And we have cross-linked the word “consent” to sexual acts that have occurred without permission. And this is all about a breakdown in respecting boundaries another person sets. 

Consent = Respecting Boundaries

Consent is much more than one’s decision to have sex. It is the knowledge that we are important and that our feelings matter. It is the understanding and awareness of respecting boundaries another person sets.

Now, who could argue with these types of books for children? (You'd be surprised.)

So What Is Consent (and Respecting Boundaries)?

1. Consent Is Setting And Respecting Boundaries

Respecting boundaries and consent happen on a physical and emotional level.

Consent is setting and respecting boundaries, for yourself and others.  

Consent, for children, is easily modeled with the example that a child is allowed to refuse a hug from someone. This action that may have previously seemed rude or disrespectful is now understood by most parents to be a healthy expression of a child’s needs. 

But consent also includes teaching your child that he is allowed to speak up when he is uncomfortable with how he is being treated. 

It's Physical AND Emotional

Developing and respecting boundaries extend to more than a person’s body and empowering your children to voice their opinions on physical and emotional boundaries, we are raising children to know they are important. 

Note: These are ideas that will carry over as your child matures and searches for positive friendships and healthy romantic relationships. BIG STUFF!

2. Consent Is Inviting Your Child To Speak Up

Each conversation regarding boundaries is an invitation for your son or daughter to open up about a situation in which he or she was uncomfortable. Boundaries are fluid and ever-changing as your child matures and decides how he wants to be treated.

With young children, we can model respectful boundary-setting as we request our own privacy when using the bathroom or changing clothes. As children mature, we establish an expectation of respect with simple actions such as knocking before entering their room. Each interaction that involves respect is modeling behavior that we want our children to expect from others. 

What Happens If You Don't Respect Boundaries?

When you don't respect their consent,  your child is left feeling disrespected.

They need to know that they can come to you. Initiating conversations about boundaries with your children opens the door for them to speak up about an event they may be keeping inside due to the shame and fear they are feeling. 

3. Consent Is Teaching YOUR Child To Take "No" For An Answer

In a society where winning is everything and determination is revered, respectful boundary-setting and consent is teaching our children that people around us have different boundaries and it’s okay for them to set those boundaries. 

As parents, we teach our children how to say “no” but how often are we talking to them about how to respect the “no’s” we receive? 

The Half Of The Conversations We Ignore

Understanding the boundaries of others is half the battle when it comes to consent. And frankly, it’s the half of the conversation that usually gets ignored. 

Food For Thought: Are we talking to children about how to truly respect others... or are we just teaching them how to avoid dangerous situations?

Consent Is About More Than Sex - It's Respecting Boundaries

Consent is much more than a conversation about sex. It is teaching children that everyone has the right to their own boundaries and what they can do if those boundaries are disrespected.


To learn more about teaching boundaries to children, Child Mind has a great article here.  

3 Keys To Teaching Consent and Respecting Boundaries (1)

Let's Recap

You can duplicate this section and use it in multiple places on your sales page.

  • Consent is about respecting boundaries, emotionally and physically. As in a child doesn't have to hug if they don't want to.
  • Consent encourages respecting boundaries by defining them. Private bathroom time and knocking before entering are two ways we can model good behavior.
  • Consent is learning how to take "no" and not just give it. If we want our boundaries to be respected, we need to respect others. And that starts with accepting a "no", no questions asked. 

I could say that I write books on respecting boundaries and not ruin the friendly banter at a six-year-old’s birthday party. 

But that's not what I’m really doing. What I'm really doing is teaching kids how to be good humans. I'll take the awkward small talk to make that happen. 

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Get More Consent

If you want to continue the conversation about respecting boundaries and consent, check out Lauren's books on Amazon.

A Parent's Guide To Consent

This book is intended to separate the topics of consent and sexual activity, in order to make consent a topic that can be learned at any age. The lessons in this book will help guide conversations to ensure that you are able to inform and/or support your child if their boundaries are disrespected. Get it on Amazon.

Before Sexuality Is A Topic

My Body is My Own will open young minds to the idea of boundaries and consent long before sexuality is a topic. This picture book is perfect for talking about respectful boundaries, their own and others. Get it on Amazon. 

About the author 

Lauren Carlson

Lauren K Carlson is the stay-at-home-mother of three who also writes books on raising good humans. Most recently she has published the children’s book My Body is My Own and Raising Kids to Understand Consent, a parent’s guide to incorporating consent into everyday living with children of all ages.

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