They're Mostly Not Strangers

Mary-Rose MacColl tries to emphasize consent and appropriate touch over “stranger danger” when she teaches her son about sexual abuse:

We embarked on what has been an ongoing conversation with our son about his body, privacy and sexual abuse. He’s now ten. We’ve moved on to sexuality, pornography and other issues he will need to negotiate in the world he inherits. At first, my rule was going to be, ‘old enough to ask, old enough to know’, but now I see the folly of that. Until I started the conversation, he didn’t ask, but once I started, and he saw me as a non-judgemental and reliable source, the questions came pouring out. They pour out still.

One of my greatest fears about becoming a parent is that my children may see me as too much of an authority figure to come to me with their scary problems and questions.