Have you asked your kid if he or she wants to be tickled? Should you check that you have their consent first? One mom raises these issues for debate.
Russell Brand’s friend Lottie Daley is a mom herself. In a recent interview on “This Morning”, she brought up the issue. She states the way we learn about autonomy over our own bodies, and how we learn to give consent when we grow up, starts at birth.
Lottie argues we should inform our kids if we’re about to change our little one’s diapers. We should allow kids to become aware that their body own is theirs, and not ours.
Rather than asking them for a definitive ‘no’ or ‘yes’, however, we should ensure we are checking that our kids are aware of what’s going on. And, that they’re okay with the fact that you’re about to do something that involves their bodies. Lottie continues, arguing that ‘giving permission’ is something which should be discussed and addressed long before our kids become teens.
Lottie elaborates more on ways we can tackle these topics with our kids. As an example, she discusses the way her own daughters tend to feel uncomfortable about anyone other than their mother tickling them. She says she deliberately asks her own daughters whether they enjoy being tickled—and the answer is “yes”. However, if she asks if it’s fine for somebody else to tickle them instead, the girls say “no”. It’s because they’re apprehensive about not being familiar with somebody else who isn’t their mother.
A different “This Morning” guest couldn’t agree. Vanessa Feltz believed tickling a child is a simple way to express love. Vanessa thinks it’s sad not being allowed to tickle a kid simply because that kid feels they aren’t comfortable with it.
She argues tickling is innocent affection—physical interaction with a kid which only shows playfulness and care. It demonstrates your love to a kid and will create love in return. Vanessa doesn’t believe it’s an invasion of their autonomy or space.