If She’s Not Having Fun You Have To Stop
This is about the nuts-and-bolts of how the work gets done. This is about parenting the next generation.
A boy and a girl run around on the grass at the park. The boy tackles the girl. The girl laughs. She gets up and runs away. She loves to run. He chases, she turns and they grab eachother, tumble and land in a pile, giggling. After a few minutes, he tackles her again and she lands a bit hard. She is bigger and physical, but he more than holds his own in roughhousing. She pauses for a second. Then she laughs again; she’s still having fun.
Dad gets his attention, and says, “If she’s not having fun, you have to stop.”
He is two. He needs to hear this now, and so does she. And again, and again, and again, so that like wearing a helmet on the bike it is ingrained. My kids would not think about riding a bike without a helmet. Wearing a helmet is what you do when you ride a bike. Doing otherwise has not occurred to them, and I need the lesson to stick so that, if their peers make bad choices, they stop and think and decide not to join the bad choices.
What I said will mean a lot of things in a lot of contexts; but it always means the same thing. Regard for one’s partner is a basic component of respect.
At one level it’s an anti-rape lesson. This is “Yes Means Yes” in practice. The mere absence of “no” does not a partnership make; and a real partner wants to participate. Shared activity is wanted by everyone involved; “pushing leaners” is for political polling.
But it’s not just an anti-rape lesson. It’s a life lesson. So I start teaching it now. He doesn’t need to know what sex is or what rape is to know what a partner is. If your partner isn’t having fun, you stop.