Brittany Baxter made a TikTok video addressing the boundaries her child is learning to set for herself and how she wishes her grandparents would try and understand the same.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on May 12, 2021. It has since been updated.
Babies are dependent on the adults around them while growing up. But at the same time, they make it clear through actions, and in time, with words about what they want and what they don't. As the grown-ups around them, we don't have to wait until they are 18 to start respecting their wishes. The sooner we start to respect their autonomy as individuals, the better. Sure, kids are adorable and you will want to hug and kiss them but it is important to learn if they want to be hugged or kissed. And that is exactly what this Australian mum said in her TikTok video that has now gone viral.
Brittany Baxter made a video addressing the boundaries her child is learning to set for herself and how she wishes her grandparents would try and understand the same. "As a parent, I practice consent with my daughter and something’s really been bothering me, so I thought why not take it to TikTok so we can talk about it," she said in the video. "Can we please start normalizing the fact that kids do not have to kiss and hug adults? My daughter’s almost two years old and I’ve been in the process of teaching her consent basically since the day that she’s been born."
She went on to explain how the adults in her life are unhelpful to the point that they make it about themselves. "I’ve explained why multiple times and then when she says no they're like 'oh she doesn't love me, my feelings are so hurt,' and then proceed to overstep her body boundaries anyway." Baxter added, "My daughter and her body do not exist to make anyone feel more comfortable and to make anyone feel more loved." Not at the expense of her own comfort anyway. Teaching children about consent starts at a young age which helps equip them better to navigate life.
"It is not her fault and it’s not my fault that the older generation hasn’t taken the time throughout their entire lives to learn how to regulate their emotions so consent doesn’t continue to be overlooked," she said. Baxter reiterated that no other person's feelings should ever be more important than her daughter’s right to her own body. She then urged for grandparents to "do better." While there were a lot of people who agreed with the mum and thought what she said was important, the concept of consent eluded many others who called her a bad daughter for "depriving her parents of love for their last years."
Some grandparents really have no boundaries. Lol they feel like they grandkids belong to them and will ice grill you, if you tell them they need to ask for consent to do certain things with your kid.— 𝓣. (@monielovex) April 25, 2021
Baxter made several follow-up videos responding to comments and trying to explain consent was different from disrespect and compliance to rules such as "respect your elders." She had to explain that at the core of consent is respect. Teaching her daughter about this only meant she was instilling what it means to be respected and reciprocating it. Child abuse is rampant and is often perpetrated by people the children know. These respectful practices will only help prevent such abuses or harm from happening to children. It tells kids they are being heard and what they feel is valid.
My 4 year old knows to ask before he gives someone a hug or a kiss and not to if they say no. He also knows that’s called consent.— Blackie Brown (@BlaiqueJLee) May 2, 2021
If a 4 year old can grasp this concept there’s no excuse for any adult.
But her video was also met with a lot of appreciation. One user, according to new.com.au wrote: "Fully support and did the same with my kids. I would ask before hugging or kissing my kids and didn’t get mad at a no.” A mum commented, “I ask permission from my daughter for a kiss. If she doesn’t want one that’s her choice. I don’t feel any less loved when she says no." One more user stated, "Fifty-year-old, proud uncle here. I learned early to ask, 'Would you like a hug, high five?' It’s so important," one wrote.