“Hey bud, stop touching my boobs.” Response, “Well boys like booboos too. You have to share.” This conversation is one of countless conversations about touching my breasts, aka booboos.
I breastfed my son until he was two. He stopped the week that he was potty trained, declaring, “I am a big boy. I don’t need booboos.” Later that night, like clockwork, he grabbed one as he drifted to sleep. My boobs have been a source of nourishment and security for him since birth. They have been a safe place for my son to seek comfort.
Someone once told me, “He is too old for that.” I agree. Another person told me, “You just have to tell him to stop.” I agree with that too. The conversations have changed over the past year. For a while it was: You can’t touch mommy’s boobs during the day. Then it was: Booboos are for night-night.
I have also been told, “If you are having conversations like that, then he is definitely too old.” I don’t agree. Having a conversation is exactly what I need to be doing with my son. I want to teach my son the basics in life like respect other people’s bodies and that his body should be respected.
Our night time talks have become a precious, meaningful time to talk about life. The conversations are an opportunity to teach my son about boundaries—this is MY body. These conversations have also grown into opportunities to teach him about consent—you have to ask for permission to touch my body. Also to teach him about stranger danger—no one should touch your body either. These are your private parts. My reminders and boundaries are more frequent now and our conversations continue to evolve. “Son, stop touching my boobs. Here, place your hand on my heart. You can touch my heart anytime.”
These conversations with my son have become even more meaningful as I read recent news related to rape and the lack of accountability to successfully prosecute. It is my hope that I can help raise a child that has empathy towards others, understands healthy consent, and can help end sexual assault and rape culture.
I am learning new age-appropriate ways to continue this conversation like:
Ask for hugs and kisses from your little one.
Never make your kid hug or kiss others, but rather offer them the option.
Teach kids how to stop and help others when in trouble, which teaches bystander intervention. It can be as simple as, “Look, bug is upside down, let’s turn it over.”
Teach them to wash their own private parts and ask them “Can I help?” and if they say “No” then hand them the wash cloth.
Emphasize that “no” means “stop” no matter what.