Russell Brand, comedian, has recently argued how tickling a child without their consent should not be allowed — creating a debate among parents about respecting their children’s “bodily autonomy.“
Many became upset at the idea of having to ask their children for permission prior to tickling them but others felt it raised a vital question about consent.
Brand does have a reason for his beliefs.
Russell shared with the Daily Star how he regrets tickling his friend David Baddiel’s son, Ezra, in the past.
The Get Him To The Greek star, now 43-years-old, is a father himself and shared:
“To recall doing this to Ez fills me with dreadful shame and makes me want to punch myself in the face.”
“Which is what I will do to anyone who tickles either of my daughters until they are old enough to decide for themselves whether they want to be tickled or not, which by my reckoning is at 35.”
Writer and PR media consultant Lottie Daley, and Russell’s friend, has recently appeared on This Morning to talk about the topic in depth.
Lottie shared how asking permission from her children helps them learn about consent.
“When you start learning about body autonomy and consent for our children when they become a bit older, we should be modelling this behavior from birth, like letting your baby know you are changing its nappy.”
“I want her to know that it’s her body. It’s not a case of them saying ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ it’s modelling that repetition and a habit of checking in with your children and making sure they are happy with what you are doing with them…”
“When I’m washing my daughters, who are a bit older, they are seven and five, when I’ve got to wash their bottoms, I do say, ‘Can mummy just wash your bottom?’ because sometimes you have to.
“And they say, ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”
Lottie also shared about her daughter’s apprehension when it came to others tickling them that was not her.
“I asked my children, ‘Do you like tickling?’ and they said, ‘Yes.’”
“And I said, ‘Would you like it if someone else did it?’ and they said they would be scared… because it wasn’t me.”
Lottie then shared how parents should consider the issue of consent way before kids turn into teens.
“We need to rethink the wider issue of consent, it’s not just applicable to teenagers, it’s applicable from birth. I think we should start to ask those questions and when you look at the wider context, we need to.”
That being said, Vanessa Feltz, was also in the studio at the time — she argued how tickling is “the ultimate in innocent love.”
“As far as I’m concerned I think it’s an absolute shame that we have to mix up tickling a child that we know, you have to be on tickling terms with the child you don’t just swoop in and tickle a child you don’t know.”
“But tickling is the ultimate in innocent love, care, fun, physical contact with a child that you love and they love you.”
“Am I invading their space? No!”
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