Various select-group agendas would have us believe there is no such thing as absolute truth. While Christians and many other faith-based peoples refute the idea and live counter-culturally to relativistic trends, there is no shortage of news headlines or supposed professional opinions promoting self-indulgence and individual interpretation of right and wrong.
Due to various recent events, including but not limited to mass shootings, domestic abuse and publicly-aired sexual scandals, many parents have become doubtful of their rights and abilities to act as authorities in their children’s lives. As parents, we certainly try to provide our children with resources, support and skills necessary to help them make informed decisions and grow into confident, productive, well-functioning adults. However, some say that in order to do so, we must never impose any restrictions or rules, or do anything that allegedly denies our children’s supposed rights or abilities to “choose for themselves.”
This mindset was recently demonstrated to an extreme in an interview I read about online. A so-called “sexuality expert” espoused her views that parents should seek permission before changing their babies’ diapers. She says that doing so helps create home environments that promote consent before physical contact.
While I think I can see where she’s trying to go with that, namely, that in light of an increase of sexual harassment and assault cases in our society, we empower people if we teach them from young ages that they have the right to refuse intimate contact from others. However, I don’t think that encouraging parents to seek their children’s permission before changing their diapers is a means to achieve the goal. In fact, I think there are several potential negative effects likely to occur if parents act on this woman’s advice.
The speaker recommends that parents ask permission to change their children’s diapers, then wait a moment or two for some type of response, albeit likely not a verbal one since most children wearing diapers are not yet able to articulate their thoughts or feelings. What if the response given is a sign of physical resistance or displeasure? No good parent is going to allow a child to remain in a soiled diaper. Thus, if the parent asks permission and the child’s response appears to deny permission – what then? Should the parent change the diaper anyway? Should a parent allow a child to remain in the unchanged diaper?
A child of diaper-wearing age isn’t typically able to grasp the concept of seeking and granting permission. These are learned behaviors. Parents must act in the best interests of their babies and must have confidence in their rights as parents to do so. Seeking permission before changing one’s own child’s diaper may lead to confusion and mixed messages rather than empowerment and confidence.
As children grow and are able to understand parents’ basic instructions, parents may teach their kids to immediately tell them if any person says something or touches them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. Parents can answer their children’s questions and engage in discussions according to each child’s ability to understand and cope with information provided.
Parents, however, should never be afraid of making decisions or providing care for their kids, and do not have to ask their children’s permission to do so. To the contrary, asking a child’s permission to carry out one’s parental obligations merely blurs the lines between adult and child and undermines the parent/child relationship.
Writer Bio: Judy Dudich
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.