Why I’m starting to talk to my four-year-old daughter about consent and boundaries

'In clinging to the idea that our children are people for whom sex only becomes a reality at an age-appropriate time, we genuinely are doing them the biggest disservice of all'

Tanya Sweeney

If I’ve heard one variation of this line, I’ve heard a dozen. But one fevered proclamation, published recently in a British newspaper interview, gave me pause for thought. “[My son] has gone from finding out Santa Claus doesn’t exist to being told about anal sex,” the unnamed parent fretted, referring to the increasingly ‘graphic’ nature of sex education in schools. Now that’s a fateful afternoon for a 12-year-old. He has, according to his mother, been “traumatised” by the revelation.