Local Spotlight: We Listen To Our Bodies

Cincinnati author releases her first children’s book about body autonomy and consent.

It’s no secret that reading to your child each day is one of the most highly recommended activities for parents. Books can be instrumental in helping introduce children to so many educational and important topics.

Local author Lydia Bowers wanted to write an important book for children that would help introduce the concepts of consent and body autonomy. Southwest Ohio Parent spoke with Bowers to learn more about her first book, We Listen To Our Bodies.

How did you choose the topic for your children’s books?

I wanted books that could be on family and classroom bookshelves, that made consent conversations fun and accessible, and that recognized that consent is more than abuse prevention and is more than just saying no or yes. Sometimes when we hear the term “consent,” some assume it means agreeing to sexual activity. But consent is a social-emotional skill that includes emotional awareness, mindfulness and empathy.

Why is it important to teach these topics to children?

Teaching consent concepts to young children is beneficial in several ways. First, we are empowering children with the knowledge that they have bodily autonomy. Most abuse happens by people familiar to children. Teaching consent means children know they can say “no,” and listen to their body’s warning signs.

Second, we want them to have a foundation to build on so that when they are adults, it’s not a foreign concept, and they’re already well-practiced in respecting others’ boundaries and listening to their own bodies.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your book?

That consent is a social-emotional skill that needs to be practiced! What we do and say with children now sets the foundation for their attitudes and behaviors as adults. Just like cognitive and physical skills gradually develop, so do social-emotional skills including consent.

Consent is more than just about saying yes or no to sex. Practicing autonomy also influences future things such as how we respond to being turned down for a job, sleep and eating habits, and relationship boundaries.

Do you plan to write more books on similar topics in the future?

Absolutely! This book is actually first in a series of six. This series covers consent themes like recognizing the physical sensations our emotions create, looking for body language cues in ourselves and others, taking responsibility for our actions, and knowing that our bodies have value. Each book is based on one of the five steps of consent that I teach to families and educators:

  1. I listen to my body.
  2. I am in charge of my body.
  3. I ask permission.
  4. I check in.
  5. I accept no.

We Listen To Our Bodies is published by Free Spirit, and is available wherever you buy books. Follow Lydia Bowers on Twitter @consenteducator or Instagram @lydiambowers.

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