I let my daughters draw on the walls.
Hear me out.
Both of my children have shown an interest in art since they could pick up a crayon. Most children do, I think, and parents a little when we are being honest with ourselves.
A few weeks ago, I was yelling at my daughters for drawing on the walls again. This is an ongoing battle.
My oldest once drew with pen on every single door frame and when I scolded her, she said "But mommy, they are hearts! I want you to feel love all around you."
But here's the thing. I want to be a rebel, Warehouse inspired mom, but I don't want their scribbles all over my walls. I want to encourage their wild woman dreams, but I also said no, ok??
You see my conflict.
So we struck a deal. A few weeks ago, I gave them permission to draw on one particular wall. Any wall, even in the public spaces, and (here's the kicker) they got to choose which wall.
The Lesson and the logic of allowing your children to draw on the walls
I want to encourage them to break free of others' expectations. I want them to see opportunity where others see only a blank space.
But I also want them to understand the meaning of "no." Even if they don't like it, even if they believe in their vision, choosing to violate someone else's boundary is scary and dangerous.
It isn't about my saying "no." It's about teaching them to respect a boundary that I've set in place with my space.
If I'm teaching them that their bodies belong to only them, that their consent is necessary and critical, that their right to define their boundaries is a lesson learned only under the direct counter influence of society,
then I also have to teach them how to respect someone else's consent.
These big lessons play out in ways that are developmentally appropriate. Right now, they understand colors and the walls. They understand their own overwhelming desire and how that desire runs counter to my boundaries.
Our house belongs to all of us, but ultimately I work hard and pay for it. And so I allow them to choose their own personal space within this frame and do with it as they will.
That physical space is teaching them to respect themselves and to respect others.
At least, that's my hope.
How do you teach your children, your nieces and nephews, your cousins, your friends' children about the difficult concept of consent?
Other thoughts on teaching your children consent.
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