Even when our littles are not so little, they still need us. Consider the fact that our daughters have a higher chance of being raped on college campuses than getting the flu, and maybe we might see the point in continuing to parent our children through high school and beyond?

Do we talk to our sons and daughters about appropriate sexual behavior? Do we talk about respect, the Golden Rule, and how to treat others with compassion and empathy? Likely, we teach our daughters how to protect themselves, how to be on guard, and how to be safe, but why do we stop there?

Why do we tell our daughters not to get raped when the real focus should be on raising our sons not to rape? We excuse certain behaviors from our male children by repeating a long-held mantra, “Boys will be boys,” when we should be raising and expecting all of our children to be respectful, compassionate, and, basically, just human.

What can we expect from boys?

We can expect them to be a product of their upbringing, certainly. We should also expect our boys to be held to the same standard as our girls. “Boys will be boys” is no longer an acceptable phrase to excuse an entire gender of undesirable behaviors.

This sentiment is offensive to boys and men. It gives us the inaccurate picture that boys and men are incapable of acting respectfully, dignifiedly, and compassionately.

Talking to our male and female children about appropriate sexual behaviors, boundaries, personal safety, and respecting others would be a great place to start.

This isn’t the topic for a one-time-only conversation – that’s the old way and it doesn’t always work. What we need to consider is that if we start early and have a running dialogue with our children, both male and female, about their bodies and boundaries, and personal safety (age-appropriate, of course), we will be the “go-to” choice when they are seeking answers to their difficult questions.

What do we tell our growing children as they near college age about drinking, the meaning of NO, partying, and talking about sex beyond biology and into issues of consent, peer interaction, and even the law?

What do you tell your children? Share your approach below – we could all certainly learn a thing or two from each other about sexual consent and boundaries.

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Laura Fogarty
Laura Fogarty

Editor, Ask Lala

Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!

Laura has an ACE score of 7.


Authors express their own opinions which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Stop Abuse Campaign.