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An innocent playground moment has been used by a mum to teach her young son about consent, but her husband says she’s made their nine-year-old out to be a predator.

The mum-of-three says she was watching her boy in the playground, when he put his arm around a girl from his class. She later asked him about it, and the boy told his mum that the girl is his girlfriend.

“My husband laughed and told him, ‘Don’t break too many hearts’, the woman explained on reddit. But the mum saw it as an opportunity to have a discussion about consent.

“I asked my son if he had asked the girl if it was okay before he put his arm around her and he said no. I gently explained to him that he shouldn’t ever touch girls like that without getting their consent first. He didn’t know what consent meant so I had a mini discussion with him about how it’s not nice to touch people without permission and asking first means that you know the other person doesn’t mind.”

‘You’re making him sound like a predator’

While the woman’s husband remain silent during the whole conversation, and her son wasn’t bothered by the minutes-long chat, once he left to go play, the mood shifted.

“After he left the room my husband went off on me, saying that I’m making my son sound like a predator in the making, that it’s just innocent playground fun, and that I’m blowing it way out of proportion. I obviously don’t think my 4th grader is a predator, but I felt like it was important to teach him about the idea of consent from a young age. However, I do have a complicated history when it comes to this subject so maybe that’s clouding my judgment. Was I the asshole here?”

Her question has had hundreds of replies, with most agreeing with the lesson she taught her son, including one mum who said, “Most predators aren’t malevolent sadists who assault women because they enjoy hurting people. Most of them are ‘nice’ young boys/men who have learned toxic, misogynist lessons about themselves, women, and relationships. If parents aren’t actively raising boys to respect women, boundaries, and to be whole human beings, then they are perpetuating rape culture. I say this as survivor and as a parent of two young boys.”

What do you think about the dad’s reaction? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • As long as its done proper way and using proper language that 9yo can understand i don’t see a problem with it

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  • This is a good example of how this can be approached at early age

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  • Is a bit early

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  • I think it’s great to teach the son about consent! At some point in the future his girlfriend may say he doesn’t have to keep asking consent to put his arm around her, but as long as he knows he needs consent that’s the most important thing.

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  • I think this was the perfect way to teach your son about what’s right or wrong when approaching a person. Your husband sounds like he has an issue with being called a predator when he was young.

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  • I think you picked a perfect opportunity to bring a discussion on consent into play. Regardless of any history – I have an experience there too – I feel you approached the whole thing brilliantly. If we are not going to teach our boys about consent early on then they have the greater influence of peer groups and social “norms” as they get older, some of whose choices are not the best thought out actions to take.

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  • It does need to be talked about, in a calm way which she did

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  • No it’s not too early to have a conversation, provided it is done carefully and age appropriately.

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  • It needs to be age appropriate, and it does need to be talked about.

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  • Recently my six year old had to apologise to his baby sister. He did so by giving her two kisses, on the chest (she wasn’t wearing a shirt). She had her back to me so I couldn’t tell where he kissed her just that it was on her chest somewhere. I reminded him that at school he is learning about private areas and got him to tell me where they are. He did so. I told him he is never to kiss her, or anyone else there as it’s a private area. He is six and has no clue about these things. It was entirely innocent, him just trying to say sorry but unable to kiss her head as she was thrashing it about. It’s never too early to remind kids about private areas and consent. For the record, my husband also said I made him out to be like a predator. I may have over reacted in the moment and told him to back off and never do it again, but then I calmed down and had the discussion.
    When he was around 2 he would sometimes touch my chest out of curiosity, and I would feel a little violated, which is probably why I over reacted in the first instinct, and as a parent it’s our job to 1. Protect our children and 2. Teach them the boundaries. So good on her I say!

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  • I’m trying to get my 4 year old to understand if someone says to stop doing something or that they don’t want to do something then he has to respect their wishes. While in my case it doesn’t apply to anything of a romantic/sexual nature the concept is still the same. No is no. We had one of his friends have a huge meltdown because she didn’t want anyone looking at her and he kept looking at her. In my opinion kids are never too young to be taught boundaries in all situations.

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  • Well done for talking to your son about this topic. Your husband probably just feels like he doesn’t know how to approach the topic himself.

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  • This is needed conversation all be it a hard one to gauge at what age to have.
    I thank the mum for taking the initiative to speak to her son.
    She’s the mum, and would have k he was mature enough to understand or not

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  • Good on you Mum. I think this was a fantastic teaching moment. Kids learn and role-model their behaviour, so hoping he learns from his Mum and not his Dad!

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  • Consent is important to teach and should be taught from a young age.

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