We are working with Vanessa Van Petten from www.RadicalParenting.com to get insight into a teen’s point of view on parenting.
Our question was:
Did your parents ever talk to you about body boundaries? How has that affected how you keep your body safe:
Setting Boundaries: No Means No
Hope is a teen writer for Radical Parenting.com, a parenting website written from the kid’s perspective with 82 teen interns! Hope is 15 years old from Stratford, NJ. She loves reading, writing, socializing with friends and her favorite subject is English because she wants to be a writer/editor.
Growing up, my parents and I talked about everything. I consider myself lucky to have this type of relationship with them. They passed down several rules to me that I will always live by. I couldn’t get tattoos. I couldn’t get several piercings. As I grew older, my parents wouldn’t let me wear short skirts or revealing clothing. They also advised me to stay pure until marriage and taught me that no means no. Honestly, I feel that these principles are very practical and help me strengthen my self-respect.
My parents started helping me set body related boundaries for as long as I can remember. Talks about issues like this became more and more frequent into my teenage years. I even found myself initiating those conversations most of the time. Body related issues come up so frequently in life, in magazines, and on TV. They’re so hard to ignore because these issues need to be addressed. More often than not, I hear girls at school crying because they let a guy take advantage of them. As cruel as this may sound, whose fault is that? No means no if you are willing to say it. I don’t see a reason to allow people to walk all over you. Sure, there is pressure. You just have to set limits and deal with it. My parents used to always tell me to respect my body and take care of it because I only get one in life. This is a great rule to live by.
I strongly advise all parents to talk to their children about setting boundaries regarding their body frequently. Lack of self-respect and a low self-esteem can drive people to do risqué things. Teenage years can be so tough and confusing. Because I have respect for my body, however, I don’t have to date guys who only want me for my body, just to make myself feel attractive. Many people I know do not have that mindset and I feel so bad for them. They let others take advantage of them physically because they think that is what relationships are all about. These issues are not always this serious, though. Sometimes, in school, my friends get a little too touchy-feely with me to the point where I feel uncomfortable, so I tell them to stop. Not helping your child set body related boundaries results in him or her, most likely, getting stepped on in the future. Why wouldn’t you do all that you can to make sure that your child respects themselves and makes good decisions. I respect my body, I love who I am, and, with the help of my parents, I set firm body boundaries.
Vanessa Van Petten Author: “You’re Grounded!”