Teaching children from a young age about the importance of consent is, well, very important.
That said, many feel one woman is going way too far in trying to make this happen. Sexual consent expert Deanna Carson wants kids to understand what consent means as well, but she wants these types of lessons to start at an age when they can’t understand much of anything — when they’re still wearing diapers.
Now Carson is making headlines and creating quite the stir for what some are calling a crazy suggestion. She says parents should “ask” their baby’s permission before changing their diaper. Really.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) May 10, 2018
Obviously, your first response, like many others, is that babies can’t understand a single word you say to them, let alone give consent.
“If you leave a space and wait for body language and wait to make eye-contact then you’re letting that child know that their response matters,” Deanne Carson said. https://t.co/euB8mbO5hJ
— Essential Baby (@essentialbaby) May 11, 2018
However, it became apparent that her real point wasn’t to elicit a response; rather, it is supposed to instill a sense in the child that their response is an important one and is supposed to give them a greater autonomy over their bodies when they’re older.
No, she’s saying you should ask the baby if it’s OK. To get kids used to the idea that their bodies are their own. “Deanne acknowledged babies would not be able to answer but said it’s still important.”
— John Bowman (@johnbowman) May 10, 2018
Still, it raises questions about what the child will learn when the parents change their diaper anyway. Will they be taught that ultimately, their consent doesn’t matter?
She is fairly stupid though. Because the nappy has to be changed no matter how the baby reacts, so if they react negatively, the message they’ll receive is that their consent is irrelevant. By this woman’s own logic, that is – which is bad logic.
— Ben Pobjie (@benpobjie) May 11, 2018
As others have pointed out, it’s clear Carson means well, but there are better ways to teach children about consent.
I see her point. But I’m not sure it actually helps parents with this idea if you train them to just ask in a rote way and yet do what they were going to anyway regardless of the response. Put the focus on areas of consent that are truly possible and meaningful.
— R. Mowat (@robinmowat) May 10, 2018