This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.
You’ve probably seen the hashtag inside your Twitter feed, browse the stories on Facebook, or posted your own heart-wrenching stories about sexual harassment. On Sunday night, actress Alyssa Milano resurfaced a 10-year-old campaign originally created by activist Tarana Burke with the first “Me Too” tweet. Since, literally countless ladies have posted what in solidarity and shared their very own stories.
And chances are, in case your daughter is on social media, she’s seen those stories, too. Even if she’s too young to be Instagram (or watch Saturday Night Live, or stick to the news about her favorite actresses), your daughter has likely witnessed men or boys making inappropriate sexual comments. She may have even experienced it herself: Based on one study, a lot more than 1 in 10 American girls has experienced catcalls or street harassment by age 11.
“The news about Harvey Weinstein and Me Too is really hitting a nerve,” says Holly Kearl, founding father of the nonprofit Stop Street Harassment. Although the stories are unsettling, Kearl says the positive side is the fact that everyone is talking about it now, and it’s providing an invaluable opportunity for you to definitely discuss the problem using the girls-and boys-in your lifetime. “Many parents wish to talk to their daughters, however they worry they’ll do it wrong, or they do not know exactly what to say, so that they wind up not saying anything,” says Kearl. Here are three ways to begin the conversation:
If Your Savvy Tween or Teen Daughter Is on Social Media and it has Lots 0f Questions…
- and just what questions she’s about this, and answer her honestly. You may also make use of this opportunity to share your personal experiences in the past and how you handled them-or want, says Kearl. As your girls grow older and able to venture out into the working world, you can also broaden the conversation to let her know it’s not only about sex, but about wielding power, says Dana Dorfman, PhD, a brand new York family and child therapist.
- “If someone is bothering them in school or in public, they are able to say ‘Nope, I am not interested,’ and leave,” says Kearl. “But also inform them if they’re being harassed, and the body else is older or in a group, they shouldn’t feel any pressure to reply within the moment. They should just get to a safe place, and speak with someone about this afterward.”
- “With older girls, let them know it’s okay to want to become attractive and also to flirt with a boy, however when it crosses a line, they shouldn’t feel they’re somehow responsible,” says Dorfman. “Make sure girls know they’ve their very own inner barometer of when something isn’t right, plus they should trust might get free from the situation.”
If Your Daughter Hears You Talking About the News and Wants to Know What It’s All About
- You are able to state that one extremely effective man in the movie business has gotten fired because he treated women very badly, touching them sexually once they didn’t desire to be touched and saying crude and mean items to them-behavior that is never acceptable in almost any situation. And today women from coast to coast are supporting one another by sharing their stories.
- To be able to mention the idea of sexual harassment without scaring your son or daughter, you can say, “Most men and boys are really nice and great to be friends with, but there are some who think it’s okay to speak about girls in a way that’s mean or creepy. Sometimes they may touch them without permission. Should you ever check this out or if it happens to you, I really want you to know you can speak with me about this.”
- . “When the thing is someone being disrespectful female, in both the films, on television, or in actual life, use it as a springboard to a conversation together with your sons and daughters,” says Kearl. “I know what we’re seeing, however in our family that is not how we treat women.”
If Your Daughter Is simply too Young to understand What’s Going On…
- For the youngest girls, you shouldn’t have to bring up news that they’re not interested in or can’t understand. However, you should start talking about good touching and bad touching every time they can understand. “Even at age Five to six, a woman might have heard someone say something to her mothers or older sister, and you can say it isn’t okay for somebody to speak about your body or touch you without your permission,” says Kearl.
- “Children pick up more from listening to us talk about others than from what we should say to them,” says Dorfman. This means that whenever your kids overhear you talking about someone as “hot” or hear men member of the family discuss a woman’s body, they internalize this is suitable behavior. “No one is born a harasser, they are just modeling behavior they’ve seen others do,” says Kearl.