A week ago I was putting away Miss. G’s laundry when I heard Mr. C in the next room asking her for a kiss. I heard her cute little “no” and I heard him continue to ask and try to get her to give him a kiss.
I called him into the room I was in to talk with him about it. I gently explained that she has the right to dictate what happens with her own body. That while I understand him wanting kisses from her, she has the right to decide when and with whom she will share physical affection with. I told him that when a child is forced to give affection it’s one of multiple ways they can be taught that they do not have the right to decide what should happen with their own body. That someone else, someone bigger, or older, or whatever has more say over their own body than they do.
I explained how that can later on make it much more difficult for them as an adult to state openly when affection or advances from someone else are unwanted. I told him how it can make it difficult for her to feel comfortable saying “no” to others when she’s an adult, if she’s never allowed to do so as a child.
I asked him if he wanted her to feel that she had the right to decide who would touch her, who would kiss her, when she was an adult. I watched as he fiercely told me that no one better ever think they had the right to tell her what her decisions would be when she was an adult. I gently explained that in order for her to know in her heart with full confidence that her body is her right she had to be raised that way from the start, not just told that once she was an adult.
I explained that the media and society in general often (not always, but often) will tell her the exact opposite, and in order for her to have the vital strong sense of self she will need to stand up and state “My body, my choice, in all things, in all ways” she had to grow up with that intrinsic right.
I then made sure to explain to him that he had the same right, that while he wanted to give Miss. G a brotherly kiss, as he got a bit older others might see his handsome face and want to kiss him in a romantic way, but that he too had the right to say “no”. That even though the stereotype is that a guy will always want to kiss every girl that likes him in a romantic way it’s not accurate. And that he shouldn’t just accept the media’s inaccurate portrayal of what it means to be a man. That it’s okay for him to say “no”, and it’s okay for him to say “yes”. That he and Miss. G and every single person on this planet has the basic right to say “My body, my choice, in all things, in all ways”
A couple of days later he came home from playing with a friend, and I was told about a friend who had wanted to sit too closely to him, simply because they liked being his friend. But Mr. C wasn’t comfortable and so he told his friend “no, please move over”
Yesterday when he asked Miss. G for a kiss again and she said no, he smiled, genuinely accepting her answer, and asked her if she wanted to play with a wind-up horse with him instead, which she happily agreed to.