Talking To Teens About Sexual Harassment

Teens, Harassment, Parents

The hashtag #MeToo is trending on social media to spotlight the number of women who have been sexually harassed.

As women share their stories of harassment, we wanted to focus on the younger generation. What should you as parents teach your kids, both girls and boys, about harassment?

As parents you can start a conversation by using a real story to open the door for conversation. You can talk about the situation involving Harvey Weinstein. Some things to talk about including: explaining what the allegations are; why that behavior is inappropriate; defining sexually harassment as the issues of control and misuse of power; complicity. 

Talking to both boys and girls about appropriate behavior is important. Most boys are very protective of their mothers. This means that any and all jokes about their mom’s look,body shape or talking about touching their mom is off-limits. So you take the way boys feel about their moms or another female figure in their lives and tell them that’s how all girls need to be treated. That is with respect. The same holds true for girls. Girls need to treat boys with respect. Back in the 1990's, the movie, Disclosure, addressed sexual harassment with a female boss victimizing a male employee. 

For teens who are working, they may see or hear something that they're not sure is sexual harassment. Let your teens know that they can come to you or another trusted adult. What happens is that teens think they have to figure out life by themselves, particularly as they get older and start taking on adult responsibilities. They see you, their mom or dad, who handles problems on your own. So they emulate the same thing without realizing that they can come to you for help.

Share your thoughts with me on my facebook page: Blanca Cobb - Body Language Expert. Or, you can email me at bcobb@wfmy.com

Blanca Cobb is a WFMY News 2 Contributing Editor, body language expert and keynote speaker/corporate trainer who covers nonverbal communication, psychology and behavior. Follow her @blancacobb. The opinions expressed in this article are exclusively hers.

© 2017 WFMY-TV


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