There are two major considerations in consent. Which is the consent itself, and also the idea of informed consent. Though similar and important, they are, as we use them, two distinctly different things.
Consent is the action itself. It covers one’s essential right to bodily and personal autonomy. Consent is something you give, but you can’t truly give consent without understanding, and I mean truly understanding whatever it is you are consenting to. This is where the idea of informed consent comes in.
Informed consent is used most often in a medical setting. You have to have informed consent about the positives and negatives of the surgeries, drugs and procedures, among other things, otherwise, your doctor/surgeon/nurse/etc can not do what it is they are suggesting should be done.
I think it’s incredibly important to take that idea out of the medical industry and apply it to life in general.
Informed consent is the cornerstone of my life. It is the central tenet of how I parent, and it dictates how I interact with everyone I come across.
I think that by following that one, single thing, by truly giving people all information necessary on any and all subjects, even the uncomfortable ones, we will have taken a great stride in understanding ourselves, others and our environment. I can not even fathom the difference it would make if we all lived by the idea of informed consent, but I think it would be drastic.
Informed consent is a beautiful, beautiful thing, and I implore you to use it even more in your life if you already do, and to start using it if you don’t right now.
It’s definitely a super important parenting thing I think. I’m going to use a couple of more extreme examples to sum up the idea quickly.
Of course, I don’t want my kids to use hard drugs, but I don’t think for a second that approaching their “teaching” like D.A.R.E (our anti-drug program in the US) does, which uses scare tactics, outdated, overblown, incorrect and even flat out false information, to make sure that your kid doesn’t do them is bound to fail, and it’s fucked up on my part. If I send them out in the world with bad information, should I really expect them to make good choices?
This brings me to this: say one of my kiddos wanted to know about… heroin. I sure as hell don’t want them using it, but I will absolutely explain the good and the bad in blunt terms, and not over accentuate anything. It is their choice what they do with that information, at the end of the day, I have absolutely zero control over that.
R recently asked me what good things could possibly come from heroin. I’ve never used it, so I couldn’t tell you first hand, but off the bat, I can think of the high as being a good thing from using it.
Before addiction sets in, if it does, people do drugs purely because the high kicks ass. It makes them feel good. Whether or not I agree with heroin use (or any other drug) is completely irrelevant to my child’s understanding of the subject. What is relevant is the information. Why do people use it? What are the plus sides? What are the problems? How does it work? What is it? What is it made of? How is it made?
We need to arm ourselves, our children, partners, friends, family and every single person we interact with all information possible.
I mean, can you truly consent to sex if you don’t really know what it is? I mean, sure, you might know that it means you play with each other’s genitals, but… if you don’t know ahead of time how it might feel, what it really entails, what the possible concerns are, how to safely do it, how to give consent, and that you have the autonomy for it that no one can ever, ever take away…
Can you truly give consent?
Just a thought for you guys. I hope you have a beautiful day sunshines.