Sexuality expert says parents should ask their child’s ‘permission’ before changing their nappies

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  • Deanne Carson has caused a debate online after she suggested parents should ask for their child's permission to change their nappy in order to create a 'culture of consent'.

    Sexuality educator, author and speaker Deanne Carson was on ABC News to discuss teaching children about consent when she made the controversial statement.

    Deanne argued that a ‘culture of consent’ needs to be developed from birth and parents that do not ask permission before changing their child’s nappy could damage the child’s understanding of consent in the future.

    To do this Deanne suggests parents say: ‘I’m going to change your nappy now, is that okay?’, before changing their child’s nappy.

    She understands that babies won’t necessarily be able to verbally respond but thinks it is an important process to go through anyway.

    Deanne said: ‘Of course a baby is not going to respond “yes mum, that is awesome, I’d love to have my nappy changed”. But if you leave a space and wait for body language and wait to make eye contact then you are letting that child know that their response matters.’

    Since the interview people have taken to Twitter to express their views on the idea.

    permission to change nappy

    Would you ask your baby permission before changing their nappy?

    One person wrote: ‘Can you imagine showing up at the doctors with your baby because due to a lack of permission you couldn’t change its nappy for days and now your baby has a skin condition?’

    Another said: ‘I’m not so sure you should be looking after children.’

    A third commented: ‘Sorry but if a child has a dirty nappy then their parents should change it because that’s part of caring for your child properly – not because their child granted them permission.’

    In response to the criticism Deanne posted some sexual assault statistics in children and said that the ‘trolls’ were ‘negating the voices’ of brave sexual abuse survivors.

    Deanne said: ‘One in three girls, one in seven boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they are eighteen years old. One in twelve girls will be sexually abused before their sixth birthday.

    ‘The work we do with children, teachers and parents is international best practice in abuse prevention. It teaches children their rights AND their responsibilities and connects them with people who care and can help. It invites their parents into the discussion and is sensitive to cultural and family values.’

    Other people have also defended Deanne’s suggestion and ridiculed those who are taking her statement out of context.

    One person said: ‘She’s not saying children can consent to abuse. She’s saying create an understanding of abuse in your home. Totes easy to do. Just chat to your baby. Nappy changes can be a struggle but asking is good and simple.’

    Another wrote: ‘I totally get you on this. Culture is embedded and the embedding starts from day dot. I am sorry your argument has been taken so far out of context and that you are copping so much hate. Thank you for drawing attention to such a contentious topic.’

    What do you think? Would you ask permission from your child before changing their nappy?  Let us know in the comments box below!