The Gift of Consent During the Christmas Season
As we get ready to enjoy the holiday season’s festivities, it’s crucial to remember that the spirit of Christmas should extend beyond the exchange of gifts and the warmth of twinkling lights. One aspect that often gets overlooked during this time is the importance of consent. While it may seem like a serious topic against the backdrop of festive cheer, understanding and respecting boundaries, especially for children, is an invaluable gift we can give and receive.
In the spirit of love and togetherness, families come together during Christmas, with them the well-intentioned gestures of affection. It’s customary for relatives to shower children with hugs and kisses, expressing their love for the little ones. However, it’s crucial to recognise that every child has their comfort levels and boundaries.
Encouraging children to express their comfort levels with physical affection is vital to fostering a culture of consent. Instead of assuming that a child is comfortable with a hug or a kiss, please take a moment to ask for their consent. A simple “May I give you a hug?” or “Is it okay if I give you a kiss?” allows the child to voice their preference and establishes a foundation of respect for personal boundaries.
By incorporating consent into our interactions, we teach children that their feelings and preferences matter. This not only empowers them but also contributes to their understanding of what healthy relationships look like. It sets the stage for them to grow into confident individuals expressing their boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others.
In addition to physical interactions, the digital age has introduced new dimensions to our lives, including how we document and share our holiday celebrations. Taking photos during family gatherings is a common practice, but it’s crucial to extend the principles of consent to this realm as well.
When it comes to children, seeking consent before taking their pictures is a simple yet powerful practice. Children may not always feel comfortable being photographed, and respecting their wishes is essential. Always ask for permission before capturing their image; if they decline, respect their decision without question.
In the era of social media, it’s easy to upload and share pictures with a wide audience before posting pictures of children, especially those who may not fully understand the implications of online visibility, and obtain consent from their parents or guardians. It’s about respecting the child’s privacy and the family’s wishes regarding online presence.
To further promote the culture of consent during the Christmas season, I have created the “Merry Consenting Christmas” card. This card is a delightful and interactive way for children to express their feelings about physical affection and photo-taking during family gatherings.
The card features playful designs and spaces for children to decorate, making it a fun activity. The key element is a section where children can check boxes indicating their comfort levels with hugs, kisses, and being photographed. By handing this card to family members, children can communicate their preferences in a lighthearted and effective way.
During the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, let’s remember the importance of consent. Respecting children’s boundaries when it comes to physical affection, and photo-taking is a simple yet profound way to show them that their feelings matter. By fostering a culture of consent, we contribute to developing individuals who understand the value of setting and respecting boundaries in all aspects of life.
This Christmas, let us unwrap the gift of consent and create a holiday season filled with love, understanding, and mutual respect. Download the Merry Consenting Christmas card and start the conversation about consent in your family. May your holiday season be merry and bright, but also respectful and consent-filled.
Here is the link to a card for older children:
Here is the link to a card for younger children: