When I was little, we had family friends who would come over. The guy would always block our way and wouldn’t let us through without tickling us. He tickled HARD and it HURT. He would pick us up and spin us upside down. Of course we laughed because we were being tickled. That doesn’t mean it was FUN or that we enjoyed it.

EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. we saw them, I would be tickled and I just hated it. It HURT.

This isn’t a big long drawn out blog post because CONSENT is black and white. With the holidays coming up, maybe you have grand kids coming or maybe you have family members who are “tickle monsters.”

Share this info-graphic with them.

I don’t EVER want my boys to be confused about when YES means YES and NO means NO.

I don’t EVER want my boys to be afraid to say “STOP. I DON’T LIKE THAT.”

I don’t EVER want my boys to stand idly by while someone else’s consent is being violated.

This. Is. Basic. Consent.

Teaching consent isn’t a part of junior high sex education class.

Teaching consent starts by respecting their boundaries when they are toddlers.

Teaching consent means standing up for them when other adults are violating their wishes even if it is awkward.

With that, I will leave you with this:

If you want to hug a child and they don’t want to hug you, don’t force it. Offer them a high five or a fist bump instead. If they don’t want to do that, then don’t touch them.

If there is a consensual “tickle fight” allow breaks for them to take a deep breath. Ask if it is okay to resume playful tickling.

If a child is violating your personal boundaries such as coming into the bathroom when you’d like privacy, be firm and clear. Say, “Do not come in. I would like privacy. Leave me alone.” This will teach them to be firm and clear when someone is violating their privacy or boundaries.

For more advice and practical ways to implement basic sex education, consent, boundaries, and answering the tough questions, follow Sex Positive Parenting on Facebook.


  1. Barbara F
    December 8, 2019 / 8:10 pm

    Great advice. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Susan the Farm Quilter
    December 8, 2019 / 10:09 pm

    Good advice. I have grandchildren I rarely see because I am in a different state caring for my dad (he’s not their great grandfather). They don’t know me from the lady in line at the store. I can read their body language and tell that a hug from a virtual stranger isn’t welcome. I’ll sit on the floor and play with them, if they want, but nothing physical. Now, when my granddaughters who do know me run to me with their arms out-stretched, you bet I’ll be there, down at their level, to get that hug!

  3. Carolyn Sullivan
    December 8, 2019 / 11:37 pm

    YES tickling is not funny, it does hurt, it’s a reflex that causes the laughter, Not bc it’s fun.

  4. Helen
    December 9, 2019 / 12:55 am

    We had an uncle who tickled us until we peed. Then we got scolded for “making a mess.” NOT fun.

  5. Cathy
    December 9, 2019 / 1:08 am

    When my children were little, my grandfather did this. When one of my girls yelled stop, I backed her up. My mom had a fit and grandma backed me up. I told mom, we try to teach our kids that they have the right to say no, when it comes to their bodies. If we don’t support them when they say no, we are very sorry people.

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