It is never too early to talk with your child about respectful relationships. Early conversations and role- modeling will help your child develop and maintain respectful relationships throughout life. Also, open, early conversations also send the message that your child can come to you to talk about his relationships.
As a parent, there is a lot you can do to prevent violence against women. It is all about role-modeling and talking about respect and positive attitudes towards women and girls and it is never too early to start. Prevention of violence against women starts with early role-modeling and talking to children about respectful relationships and positive attitudes towards girls and women.
You play a vital part in helping your children develop respectful attitudes. That is because you are your child’s most important role model. Although children take in beliefs and attitudes from the world around them, what you do and say guides your child’s behavior, attitudes and beliefs in the short and long term.
This means that talking to your child about respectful relationships and attitudes towards girls and women from an early age can help shape your child’s attitudes and behavior throughout life.
Violence against women comes from sexist attitudes towards girls and women. These include the negative and disrespectful beliefs that women and girls:
• are not as good as boys and men
• do not deserve the same opportunities or treatment as boys and men
• should or should not do particular things, just because they are girls and women.
People do not always realize that they have these sexist beliefs. Whether they realize or not, it is not OK for them to treat women badly and to be violent towards them.
Violence against women, gender equality and respectful relationships can be tough topics to talk about with your child. It can help to use everyday activities and events to teach your child to treat others with respect and to expect respect from others.
It is important for your child to know that any violence, verbal, physical or emotional is never OK.
A child who can say ‘Stop, I dislike it’ to another child who pushes him at playgroup is more likely to grow into a confident young person who can tell others what he wants and does not want in relationships.
Gender equality means that girls, boys, men, and women deserve the same treatment and opportunities. If children understand gender equality, they are more likely also to understand that treating women disrespectfully and being violent towards women is not OK. Here are some everyday ways you can help your child understand gender equality:
• Do not tolerate sexist jokes from friends or family members.
• Teach your child that everyone can do and be what they want to be.
• Avoid gendered roles in your family relationships and domestic chores.
• Tune in to the way your child and other people talk about girls and women.
• Consider choosing gender-neutral toys and dress-ups for your children.