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#MeToo sparking dinner table conversations with families

(Graphic courtesy MGN Online.)

SAN ANTONIO – The national debate surrounding #MeToo is finding its way to dinner tables in homes right here in San Antonio.

"We want to raise a generation of kids that don't require a #MeToo movement,” says Mandy Majors from nextTalk, a resource for parents who want to start conversations about difficult topics.

She says #MeToo is a springboard for families to talk about boundaries and respect.

"If you're having a tickle fight or a pillow party at your family house, and you've got preschoolers or elementary kids, and they say no - one of them starts screaming no - we need to understand that there's power in that no,” Majors says.

It’s a continual conversation that evolves when kids get older and start dating.

"They're growing up in a 'I want to snap, record, post, grab, touch, whatever I want’ [world],” Majors says. "You talk about intelligence, how they treat people, what kinds of words they use - that will play into your kids not looking at someone as an object."

The talk is especially timely, with February being Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

All month, the Rape Crisis Center will be posting to Facebook actual quotations of conversation starters parents can use when speaking with their kids.

Experts there say one in three teens will experience dating violence before they turn 18.

"Whether it's physical abuse, verbal abuse, abuse through technology we see a lot of as well,” says Jennifer Tristan from the Rape Crisis Center. “And so much of that gets normalized and they’re not seeing it as unhealthy or abusive."

The Center offers programs in youth-based settings that focus on what makes a healthy relationship.

"Have conversations about what is a relationship? What do relationships in your life look like,” Tristan says, with the goal that today’s teens won’t ever have to say #MeToo.

By EMILY BAUCUM

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