The young men and women of today aren’t fully aware of what’s considered sexual harassment. While they should have some sense of decency naturally instilled in them, it’s also incredibly important for their parents to sit them down and explain what is and isn’t appropriate to do to another person. Naiveté just isn’t okay. Here are a few things that parents should teach their sons and daughters so that sexual harassment declines.
When it comes to getting good grades and landing a high-paying job, you’ve probably taught your child to never take no for an answer. However, you have to make it clear to them that motto doesn’t pertain to relationships. If someone tells your son or daughter they don’t want to have sex, even if they’ve been in a relationship for years and have done it before, in no way does that give them a right to remove their clothes. Make sure you set a clear line between what’s acceptable and what’s illegal.
There are some absolutely ridiculous rules about clothing in certain schools. Some women aren’t allowed to wear shirts that show their shoulders and are punished if a bra strap accidentally slips into view. In order to help destroy these rules about what a woman can and cannot wear, teach your child to be respectful to others. Whether a woman is wearing a sweater or a crop top, teach your sons not to stare or make derogatory remarks. A woman is free to wear what she wants.
You’ve probably already taught your children that the violence in videogames isn’t acceptable in reality. Now, you should teach them that the way relationships are portrayed on television and the movies are far from reality. If someone turns you down, it’s not acceptable to continue to stalk them and blast a boom box outside of their window. Films are fictional, not educational.
There are women who are called liars after accusing a man of rape. There are women who are told to “take a compliment” when a guy catcalls her on the street. Teach your sons to be gentleman, and teach your daughters that it’s okay to be offended by a man’s “affection” if he’s being crude about it. Even more importantly, make sure your daughter knows it’s okay to complain to you about anything rude a man says to her. It’s not a compliment if he makes her uncomfortable.
Your son might think it’s fine to say crude comments to his classmates, but when he hears a story about how men used to do the same thing to his mother, he’ll reconsider his actions. Children are more protective of their parents than you’d think, so be honest and tell your child your stories of sexual harassment. It’s the easiest way to open their eyes.
From a young age, you should encourage your children to come to you when someone makes them uncomfortable. That way, you’ll create an open dialogue and won’t have any secrets from one another.
What have you taught your children about sexual harassment so far?