An assertion made by an expert suggests that parents should obtain consent from their infants before changing their diapers to establish a foundation of consent in parenting.
Navigating the challenges of parenthood involves not only the joys and affection but also the inevitable task of handling numerous dirty diapers.
Although this aspect of parenting may lack glamour, it remains a crucial responsibility. Every one of us was once a baby, yet the ability to communicate verbally is beyond infants.
Therefore, the suggestion from Deanne Carson, a self-proclaimed “sexuality educator, speaker, and author,” advocating for parents to seek permission from their babies before changing diapers, has sparked discussions on introducing a culture of consent right from infancy.
In a 2018 interview on ABC, Carson discussed her perspective on instilling a culture of consent in early childhood. While her usual focus is on children aged three and older regarding consent, she underscored the importance of introducing these principles even earlier.
Recognizing that newborns cannot provide verbal responses, Carson emphasized the role of non-verbal communication, specifically through eye contact, in conveying the message that a child’s response holds significance.
During a segment on consent laws, Carson clarified, “We work with children from three years old. We work with parents from birth.” This unconventional approach prompted a reporter to question, “From birth?” Carson responded assertively, stating, “Yes, just about how to set up a culture of consent in their homes so ‘I’m going to change your nappy now, is that OK?'”
While acknowledging the impracticality of expecting a verbal response from a baby, she humorously added, “Of course, a baby is not going to respond ‘Yes, mum, that’s awesome, I’d love to have my nappy changed.'”
Carson elaborated on the practice, explaining that by allowing a brief moment of anticipation and observing non-verbal cues and eye contact, parents can convey to their infants that their reactions are valued.This assertion triggered online discussions, with many questioning the rationale behind seeking permission from a baby who may not comprehend the situation. One individual raised the question: “And what happens when the baby says no? Do you proceed anyway? That seems like a real issue.”
Another person commented, “Either she has never dealt with a toddler resisting a diaper change, or worse, she left her own child in a soiled diaper until it was ready to consent.”
A third individual expressed a pragmatic viewpoint, stating, “For sanity’s sake – if a baby’s diaper needs changing, you change it. You are the adult and in charge of the baby; the baby isn’t in charge of you. Although it may feel like it sometimes.”
It appears that the realm of parenting holds numerous layers and perspectives on how to navigate the interactions with children.
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