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Baby, May I Change Your Diaper?

You might have seen or head of the latest craze in childrearing philosophy - I'll paraphrase it as infant consent. There are a few more structured appraoches with specialty names - RIE, for example. The main tenents are the same. Baiscally, that parents should be asking babies for their permission before doing anything for the baby.

I call bullshit. (Or baby shit.)

There's a viral video of sexuality expert Deanne Carson claiming that parents need to be asking for consent before changing their child's diaper. When I heard this, I snorted so hard I almost choked on my tea. I'm going to guess this person has never parented a child before. I'm not quite sure what she thinks qualifies her to be advising people on babies. She's a sexuality expert - so I would totally respect what she has to say in that arena. But her area of expertise is not early childhood development, and I'd rather concede to those who work in that field.

This is what happens if you wait for a baby to give you permission to change their nappie. Instagram @poopsies_

Have you ever tried to change a dirty diaper on a restless toddler? No amount of reason will make my son more cooperative. He'd rather sit in literal crap all day than stop for a moment to get cleaned up. And that? That's not responsible parenting. That's neglect.

There's a reason we treat children as though they cannot make all of their own decisions, and that's because they literally can't. At such a young age, their brain isn't developed enough to understand concepts like consent, cleanliness, or consequences. As parents, it's our job to know what's best for our children and to protect them from their own immature brain. That's why kid leashes are a thing - because even well after they're mobile, kids don't easily grasp the danger of running into a busy street. Of course, that need to protect them from the consequences of their actions lessens as they mature and can make reasoned choices. But for babies? Babies can't even choose when they poop their pants.

Now, when you look a little deeper into Carson's perspective, there is a nuance that major media channels aren't discussing. This is where I'll remind you of my post earlier this week about being a *moderately* crunchy granola mom. Moderation is key! Carson isn't as nutty as everyone is making her out to be. That is to say, she's not expecting parents to wait for a child's permission before dressing them, changing them, or feeding them. Instead, she hopes parents will create a "culture of consent" from an early age. Essentially, by demonstrating this practice to our kids - asking for consent - we'll teach them that this is the appropriate way to approach others. That "no" means "no".

That's an admirable goal, and one I can get behind. I might disagree with her methods, but I think Carson is onto something. I guess I've implemented a few of her ideas without putting a formal name to it. Around the time Shep turned one, I realized he got a lot more agreeable if he knew what to expect. I'd tell him our plans for the day, or what was going to happen next. Once he felt a bit more in control, he would calm down. And you know? I can appreciate wanting to know what's going on. I sure wish I knew what the heck was happening around me.

 

 

Have you made an emphasis on teaching your kids consent? Would you ever ask your infant before changing their diaper? Opine with me @pi3sugarpi3

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