Any evidence that teaching kids about healthy boundaries and consent to physical contact reduces abuse?



Yes, it might be sufficient . . . or it might not. And yes, a child who learns about the right to bodily autonomy and consent might also be less likely to grow up to become the date rapist, or maybe not.

But that middle part? Teaching about the right to bodily autonomy and consent might have the effect of increased reporting which could be construed as a failure of it to have a positive effect, which, of course, would be the exact opposite of what it’s actual effect is.

My point is this question might not be as simple as teach kids about the right to bodily autonomy and consent and the number of incidents goes down.

Is there any scientific or sociological evidence that this parenting strategy reduces rates of sexual abuse?
Leads to earlier discovery of sexual abuse?
Has any positive effects?

might not be the correct questions to ask if you want to know if this strategy is working.


Not only is that what was expected when I was young, it’s expected by some people even today. And not just very old people - I’m talking people in their 50s.Because aside from any fear or concern the kids might have, there was ( and still is ) a fair number of adults who do not believe kids should have autonomy at all - they must hug people whether they want to or not , they must participate in extra-curricular activities according to the parents’ desire, not even being permitted to choose which instrument or which sport. They must eat the type of food and the amount served to them by their parents. ( I do not mean parents must be short order cooks but rather the parents who both fill their child’s plate and don’t allow them to leave the table until they have finished everything on it. It’s not “a take what you want but eat what you take” situation. ) I remember a coworker who didn’t believe her children should have any choices at all, not even which color T shirt to wear to school.

A reminder here that the OP is looking for statistics, studies, or other evidence concerning this. Hypotheses are not what’s called for in this thread.

What questions should I be asking? I asked a very open-ended question. What are the goals of people using this parenting strategy and is this strategy accomplishing those goals? I want to know if this strategy works or if it’s just something people are doing because something must be done about rape culture and sexual abuse and this is something so this must be done. There are lots of examples of people adopting well-meaning child rearing strategies that don’t work, often bolstered by “experts” with no evidence. Parents delayed giving their kids peanuts, taught them that abstinence was the best protection, and that kids should just say no to drugs. None of these strategies work. Is this particular child rearing strategy having any positive effects? Enlighten me if there is some question I should ask that I’m not asking. Then show me the citations that answer those questions. I don’t know about this strategy and I’d like to.

Asking about what the goals are and if this strategy is accomplishing those goals is a fine question. But whether those goals include effects that can be shown by evidence is another story. Sure, if my goal is to decrease incidents of sexual abuse , there might be evidence to show that such incidents have decreased. And if my goal was to increase reporting ( even if the incidents did not decrease) , there might be evidence to show that. But how about if my goal was simply to teach my child a life-long lesson that they get to make their own decisions in general , that they don’t have to kiss Aunt Gracie if they don’t want to , that they don’t have to allow the other person to set the terms of a relationship, they don’t have to let an elderly parent guilt them into living close by, they don’t have to be the class parent simply because no one else wants to and so on. What evidence can there possibly be to tell you whether my strategy met my goal?

If nothing else, it’s having the positive effect that those particular children aren’t forced to hug somebody they really don’t want to hug.

Even if that’s all the positive that’s gotten out of it, isn’t that a good idea?

It’s entirely possible to teach children that they should be polite to others even if they don’t want to without forcing them to accept physical contact that they don’t want.

It may be that there are other ways of asking or answering the question. But none of those other ways are FQ material. If the OP had wanted those other sorts of answers, they would have asked in IMHO.

I’m not talking about other ways to ask or answer the question. What I’m saying is that not every question is going to have an answer based on evidence. The post I was replying to had a two part question - first, what are the goals of using this strategy and second is the strategy accomplishing those goals. Whether or not the second part can have an evidence based answer is going to depend on the goals identified in the first part. If the answer to the first part is “different parents have different goals” , how is it possible to answer “is the strategy working to accomplish those goals?”

Do you think I don’t understand that? Thanks for pointing out the glaringly obvious like I’m a moron.

Thank you.

And if you’ve diligently looked and can’t find any, say so. I might stop looking.

People studying the strategy will look for particular outcomes. Is it accomplishing those goals?

I don’t see the point to continuing this discussion so I’m backing out. Thanks for your time but I won’t tretunr to this thread or the related one.