My son is very respectful.
Why would I need to worry about him sexually assaulting someone?
My daughter is very sharp.
She wouldn't let herself be with someone who mistreats her.
Lets start with the "respectful" question:
Most “respectful” and "sharp" males and females still learn about aspects of intimacy through their friends and what they see portrayed on television and in the movies. These sources of education promote disrespectful behavior by teaching males that if they are “smooth,” they can just make their moves and their partner will want them.
Did you know a child believing he or she is automatically respectful can lead to more problems. How? They assume everything they do is respectful because they would never do anything wrong.
Example of a young person in a sexual situation: Kids tell themselves, "I would never do anything to hurt this person. Clearly, they want this sexual activity - because if they didn't, the signs wouldn't be this obvious that they do want me." Your child leans on their view of "respect" as an excuse for, "I wouldn't do anything wrong" - instead of insuring they take the right precautions and QUESTION whether they are acting in the most respectful manner possible.
When someone just “make their moves,” he or she takes a tremendous risk of engaging in behavior that their partners do not want – thus leading to committing a sexual assault. Parents need to talk with their sons and daughters about truly respecting a partner by understanding how valuable and special each person is as a human being (including the body, the mind, sexuality, personality, and values). Sons and daughters need to learn that the only way you can be sure what your date wants is to “ask” your date first. The key is knowing HOW to provide your teen the skills to "Asking First."
Lets continue with the "sharp" question:
You know many intelligent people who make mistakes - sometimes bad mistakes. Intelligence does not free anyone from poor choices. Plus, your child is not the only one who has an impact on the situation. What if your child makes all the right choices and someone else still forces him or her self onto your child, especially at a party or friend's house?
To increase the chance for creating a safe environment, you want to give your daughter (or son) the SKILLS NEEDED to handle all different kinds of scenarios (good, bad, and sometimes worse). Some parents mistakenly think, "I'll teach my children self-defense or how to to fight. That will stop anyone from messing with them." Wrong! While self-defense maybe another tool your child could possess, it does not guarantee safety in intimate moments (especially when your child gets older and may consume alcohol). Your child needs specific tools and skills. You want to fill their toolbox of awareness with lots of options for them to utilize.
- written by Mike Domitrz, Founder & Executive Director, The Date Safe Project, Inc.
To obtain permission to reprint any or all portions, E-mail Mike here
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