Most parents have been there (or dreaded the thought of being there). You’re with your child, and someone crosses their personal space threshold by touching your kid. If you’re anything like me, a million thoughts race through your mind at once. Do I say something? What do I say? How do you tell someone not to touch your kid? What if they get mad at me?
Confronting someone who has just violated a physical boundary with your child is not easy, whether it’s a family member, friend, or total stranger. It’s not uncommon to find yourself feeling bad about saying something, or trying to rationalize it by telling yourself that person means well. But if you’re trying to teach your child healthy boundaries and consent, you have to practice what you preach. This means sometimes doing the hard job of stepping up and saying something when an adult (or another child) violates their boundaries.
It’s one thing to let it slide when it happens to you, but you shouldn’t compromise your child’s well-being — particularly if they’re too young to speak up for themselves — because you feel bad. If you want your kid to know that their body is their own, this means setting boundaries and enforcing them. There are plenty of ways to tell someone not to touch your kid, and you may choose to use a different method in different situations.