So it might sound extremely weird, but sometimes I say no to hugs from my son. Meanie mom I am not, but a mom that is desperate to teach an important lesson about consent. You see, we have been working tirelessly to make sure that our son does not grow up to be one of the many entitled men out there, and a small lesson in consent for us starts with him respecting when we say no to hugs or any physical contact.
We taught him that at any given moment he should ask someone to enter their personal space (ask for a hug or a kiss), and others should always ask him for permission to give him a hug or a kiss. He should at no time expect that it is the natural course of things for someone to hug or kiss you without your consent, and he should never hug or kiss anyone without their consent.
Yes, he is 4 going on 5 (two more weeks!!), but there is no time like the present, and it is never too early to teach this lesson. We have, within the last few months, been bombarded by the result of toxic masculinity (Harvey Weinstein/Matt Lauer/Bill Cosby etc) and it is time to take a stand in the way that would be most effective. Yes, we need to punish these men for their sick behaviour, but we also need to take a step back and ask ourselves, ‘what caused them to be this way?’ We need to look at how we are raising our boys. We need to not just focus on teaching our girls to protect themselves against the evil and perverted men out there; we need to prevent our boys from becoming evil and perverted men.
So, mothers and fathers, I ask that you do your part to stop the cycle of toxic masculinity by taking an active part in teaching your sons to not be douchebags.