Loading articles...

When talking about sexual harassment, childhood consultant says to start early

Last Updated Oct 22, 2017 at 12:04 pm PST

(iStock Photo)
Summary

The consultant remind the adults around you to set a good example, because kids see everything

She says today's kids are very intelligent, but they don't always get the emotional support they need

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) The “Me Too” hashtag and Harvey Weinstein fallout is opening conversation about sexual harassment and assault among girls, but what about boys?

Early childhood consultant Julie Romanowski says you can start when a kid is three, four, or five years old, keeping things broad about treating people decently.

“In this case, it would be something like, ‘I would like for you to treat everyone friendly and kindly,’ for example. It doesn’t matter if they look this way, talk this way, or are this that, or the other.”

Even if you’ve never had a talk about sexism or racism with a teenager, she says you can still have this basic conversation and relate it to more serious harassment.

She also advises you to lead by example, and remind the adults around you to set a good example, because kids see everything.

“How do we respond when someone irritates us and we call them out on their specific gender, or something about them and that’s what we’re blaming,” she explains. “Nudging grandma, grampa, or neighbours across the street, friends, and letting them know that you’re being watched, two little eyes, they take everything in.”

If you do it when your kid is really young, she says they’ll likely take these values into their adult years.

Romanowski says today’s kids are very intelligent, but they don’t always get the emotional support they need.

“I don’t think there’s enough emphasis on how do you actually have an emotional conversation with your child and how do you remain connected when they aren’t behaving very well?”