A TikTok mom filmed herself teaching her 2-year-old daughter about consent to encourage other parents to have 'uncomfortable' conversations with their toddlers
- Tara Cochran makes TikTok videos about raising her two-year-old daughter, Evy.
- In December, Cochran went viral with a video where she taught Evy about her body and consent.
When December hit, Michigan-based content creator Tara Cochran started gearing up for upcoming holiday celebrations that she was hoping to attend.
As part of her preparations, the 27-year-old TikToker, who has 641,000 followers, had a conversation about consent and physical boundaries with her two-year-old daughter, Evy, which she filmed and posted on TikTok.
In the video, Cochran sits Evy down on a couch, tells her to put her listening ears on, and asks her what she would do if a guest at a party asked her for a hug or a kiss but she did not want to give them one. "No thank you," Evy responded. And if they insist? "Please respect my body," the toddler replied.
"It's OK to not want a hug, it's OK to say no," Cochran told her daughter in the clip.
The TikTok blew up, receiving 11.8 million views, the most viral clip in a series of videos where Cochran teaches her child about consent and bodily autonomy. The content creator told Insider she has been gradually deepening these conversations with Evy, which they have been having since she was one.
"Growing up, I was never taught anything about my body or given any sort of guidelines for what is not OK. So I just want her to be prepared," Cochran said.
Viewers were taken aback by Cochran's conversational approach to teaching serious lessons to her young child, and the video stirred up a discussion on the platform about how and when parents should introduce the topic of consent to their children.
Viewers loved seeing a child being taught to be 'powerful,' Cochran said
The response to Cochran's video was overwhelmingly positive, as several people said watching the conversation made them feel emotional and spoke to their "inner child."
Cochran told Insider she thinks the clip resonated with people like her, who were not given opportunities to speak openly with their parents about topics like consent.
"Every time we learn something new, and she feels a little bit safer because of something we talked about, I feel like that heals a little piece of my inner child too," she said.
Cochran also said she thinks "being able to see someone so small being so powerful," had a profound impact on her viewers.
"A lot of people think that toddlers are not as capable as they are. They don't think they can absorb as much information or use words as powerful as 'no, respect my body.' But this is all stuff that has to be taught," she told Insider.
The clip sparked a discussion about how to start talking to children about consent
Various experts in sex education previously told Insider's Jennifer Gerson that parents should start teaching children about their bodies from an early age, preferably before they can even talk, so that children do not feel ashamed about their bodies, and are able to report abusive behavior.
Cochran received a lot of questions from viewers, including whether she thinks Evy understood what she was being taught, what steps she took to help Evy understand physical boundaries, and how she got the child to sit still while she was talking.
Cochran told Insider that she initially did not know how to best approach these conversations, but by using age-appropriate books and thinking about how she wished she was spoken to as a child, she taught herself how to speak to Evy and built up her own parenting style.
Now, she said she hopes her videos will become helpful demonstrations for other parents raising toddlers.
"A lot of these conversations can be really uncomfortable for some people, and as there isn't really one handbook on how to do it. I wanted to at least start a virtual one because it's a nice way for people to see those real conversations happening and sticking in her mind," she said.
Cochran told Insider she hopes her videos encourage parents of toddlers that "it's not too late" to start teaching their kids about consent, and that they can "keep a level of open communication" with their kids even when they're young.
"I always want my daughter to feel like she can come to me about anything. And I think that foundation really does start from the beginning," she said.
For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider's Digital Culture team here.
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