This weekend we had unusually warm weather, so we took off for the mountains.
We went with one of Lil’T’s friends from school, Lil’ Ninja, and his mom. Lil’T and her Ninja friend had a great time building forts in the trees and racing on our hikes. They searched for fairies and Harry Potter wands and hunted for beaver. C-minor was right behind them.
The last night, Lil’Ninja was overcome. He grabbed Lil’T, pinning her arms, and began smooching her on the face. (Ick, open wet lips…) She froze and then laughed nervously. We split them up immediately and asked Lil’Ninja if he had asked for permission to kiss her. He got mad and began to pout. “No, I didn’t ask. I just wanted to. ”
As his mom talked to him, we talked to Lil’T about how its always OK to say no, even if you have a crush on someone. Even if you said they could kiss you, or hug you, if you feel uncomfortable you need to tell them to stop.
Then we realized that these kids had mostly seen their parents kissing. We’ve had a lot of practice and can read each other’s body language pretty well. The kids don’t see this silent consent built on years of communicating in private. It makes sense that they just copy what they see in front of them.
We’ve started asking for permission to kiss when in front of the kids. And more importantly, we practice saying no.
“Can I kiss you?”
“Sure! Kiss my shoulder, please.”
“Oh, I’m uncomfortable kissing your shoulder. Can I kiss your nose?”
Last photo taken from http://www.two-views.com/article_kissing.html
I don’t care so much if she kisses someone now, although I had my first kiss when I was a decade and a half older than she is, but I do care that she is respected and has the courage to stand up for herself. I think this will be harder (but more fun) to teach than “wait”.