Autumn can begin with mixed emotions. Even as we share our children’s excitement about the upcoming school year, we wonder about the challenges they’ll face, how involved we should be and how to help them become their best selves. And what does becoming one’s best self mean? Does it mean trying hard? Does it mean exhibiting kindness? Does it include self-advocacy?
This year, NYC-Parents in Action is focusing on the skill of self-advocacy, particularly as it relates to consent. From the youngest learners to those in colleges and universities, we want our children to make thoughtful decisions and to be able to express how they feel. We want them to be heard. We want them to be safe.
Parents have something to learn about consent, too. We are the children of parents who as children themselves were raised to be seen and not heard, to respect their elders (with the unspoken code of silence that implied). How can we now expand our awareness to understand the vast array of what children are allowed to express? And how can we teach them not only that it’s okay to express themselves but advise and encourage them to do it in a socially acceptable manner?
These are some of the conversations parents are having. Through our facilitated Parent Talks, we hope parents will continue to learn from each other, and with our seminars and signature events, we hope to bring parents advice from experts who will add ballast to the conversations.
As the seasons change, we hope the conversations at home – the talking and the listening – will help our children know that we’re in their corner, that we believe what they say, and that we support their efforts to speak courageously and confidently.