“How boys learn domestic abuse, and how girls learn to forgive it”

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When you’re little you don’t really know much about love. So you tend to define it according to what you see in the movies, what you witness at home, and what everyone else tells you love actually is.

If I’m being honest, to this day I still don’t quite know when to be flattered by someone’s advances and welcome them, and when to sort of cringe at an endearing smile or an oh-so-charming cat-calling whistle.

But the truth is, this is made all the more challenging by the misleading messages we receive when we’re younger. The “Boys will be boys” and “Oh, don’t worry, he’s just teasing you because he likes you” may not be the best responses to boys or girls being rude to one another.

We constantly talk about the way we teach our kids to deal with things because, more often than not, they carry those coping mechanism with them for the rest of their lives. But have you ever considered that you may actually be teaching your kids that’s it’s okay to disrespect others, and teaching your little ones to brush it off and simply learn to forgive someone who treats them badly?

The Australian PSA takes it one step further to comment on domestic violence in this video, and talks about how, by excusing such behaviour with these particular messages, “boys learn domestic abuse, and girls learn to forgive”.

The video explains that by saying certain things to our kids after someone shoves and knocks them to the ground, we could be teaching them that it’s sort of okay, even when that's not our intention.

The video starts with a little girl, having a door slammed in her face by a boy, before she falls to the ground. Her mom comes to her rescue and explains,“You’re okay. He just did it because he likes you.”

Later in the video an older women argues in the car with her partner. He slams the door and bangs on the car. She comforts herself as the tears roll down her face, “You’re okay. He loves you.”

But what was the kitchen door slammed in the face later becomes the bedroom door, slammed behind him, as she crawls away in fear. And while it may seem like an all-too-harsh and sombre reality, perhaps we should consider the possible implications of the messages we’re sending when we reassure our kids, “You’re okay. He just did it because he likes you.”

The video concludes, “Violence against women starts with disrespect. The excuses we make allow it to grow."

So let's, quite frankly, "stop it at the start.”

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Do you agree that it's important to be mindful of what we say around our children to specifically prevent domestic violence and abuse? Tell us by emailing to chatback@parent24.com and we may publish your comments. Please specify if you'd like us to publish them anonymously. 

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