TO GET OR­GAN­ISED (and out the door in time)

EASY STEPS YOUR FAM­ILY The hol­i­day’s over and it’s back to the daily grind. That means get­ting every­one off to crèche and work with no ma­jor melt­downs (and on time). It can be done! Th­ese ex­pert tips will get your fam­ily run­ning like a well-oiled ma­chine

Your Baby & Toddler - - Talking Point - BY MELANY BENDIX

In the days of your own school­ing, you may have been told that a boy who hit you or pulled your hair or oth­er­wise touched you did it “be­cause he likes you”, and that that ex­plained and ex­cused his be­hav­iour. If you think about it, what does that mes­sage ac­tu­ally teach our chil­dren? It’s re­ally jam-packed with sub­lim­i­nal at­ti­tudes. For a start, it tells girls that they don’t have a choice in de­cid­ing who may touch their bod­ies and when. It teaches boys that they don’t have to ask per­mis­sion to touch some­one, that you may co­erce them, and that vi­o­lence is ac­cept­able.

Says Joanna Schroeder on web­site bab­ via good­men­pro­ject: “Boys are per­fectly ca­pa­ble of re­spect­ing other peo­ple’s bod­ies, pos­ses­sions, and space. But ev­ery time they hear us ex­cuse their bad be­hav­iour as part of boy life, they learn that they are not only above the rules, but also that boys can­not con­trol their im­pulses.”

Con­sent is a hugely im­por­tant prin­ci­ple to teach boys, as well as girls,

You may have heard the term “rape cul­ture” and won­dered how it ap­plies to your life. It’s what hap­pens when we shame vic­tims of rape (by ask­ing what cloth­ing they were wear­ing or how much al­co­hol they had to drink, rather than sim­ply blam­ing the only per­son who did some­thing wrong: the rapist). It’s when we “slut” shame – mak­ing women feel bad for hav­ing con­sen­sual sex, while sim­i­lar rules do not ap­ply to men and boys.

You can try to teach your boy that it is not only a woman’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect her­self from men, but that it is ev­ery­body’s re­spon­si­bil­ity not to be­have in ways that other peo­ple need pro­tec­tion from. Do not com­ment on what women are wear­ing in a dis­ap­prov­ing, “slut”-sham­ing way.

Think about whether you teach your boys to pro­tect women and your girls to be mod­est. As you be­gin to de­code me­dia mes­sages, you may no­tice this in­sid­i­ous at­ti­tude ev­ery­where – even in a school­yard rule that girls must en­ter the class­room first. (Why should one gen­der be sep­a­rated and given spe­cial treat­ment?)

Fa­thers some­times joke that, when you have a girl, you need to ac­quire a “shot­gun” to scare po­ten­tial boy suit­ors away. Let’s ex­am­ine the at­ti­tudes that make such a joke work: it sug­gests that boys are al­ways bound to be the sex­ual ini­tia­tors, and the girls’ job is to re­sist that sex­ual con­tact. This leaves no space for girls to dis­cover and ex­plore their own sex­u­al­ity, in their own time. And it cer­tainly sug­gests boys are sex­u­ally in­con­ti­nent, un­able to con­trol their de­sires. It also ar­ti­fi­cially rushes boys and shapes their in­ter­ac­tions with girls, even though they may have had no par­tic­u­lar sex­ual de­sire for or in­ten­tion with a par­tic­u­lar girl. Lastly, it as­sumes both chil­dren are het­ero­sex­ual, while they may not be.

Th­ese at­ti­tudes sug­gest it is stan­dard that boys will try to “take” sex and girls must try to “re­sist”, but need male pro­tec­tion in the forms of their fa­thers to do so.

It is, of course, much more dif­fi­cult and fright­en­ing to fig­ure re­la­tion­ships out mu­tu­ally, on a case by case ba­sis, as in­di­vid­u­als. No won­der we of­ten re­vert to stereo­type in­stead of show­ing our vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties and risk

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