By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Thanksgiving Day is at hand, and for many of us the day brings together family and friends in a way that may not be duplicated the rest of the year.

This year, Thanksgiving coincides with a wave of news stories about sexual harassment. And it could be a golden opportunity for parents to start pushing back against this tide of bad behavior by having a meaningful conversation with your kids about this difficult topic.

Ok, maybe the Thanksgiving table isn’t a comfortable setting for this subject. But the holiday presents other opportunities.

Child-rearing experts recommend conversations in the car, where the lack of eye contact often encourages skittish kids to open up. This year’s Thanksgiving trek might be the time to cue up a podcast on the topic, which in turn can be the prompt for your own discussion.

But then, what exactly should you tell them? After reading up on what the experts are saying, some common themes emerge.

You could talk about the imbalance of power between some of the alleged harassers in the spotlight these days and their alleged victims, and how true consent can’t occur under the pressure of an unequal relationship or the influence of drugs or alcohol.

With many of today’s alleged perps claiming they thought their advances were welcome, you could stress the pitfalls of assuming anything and the value of clear and open communication.

But most of all, you can convey your own values, and appeal to the values your child already has.

Perhaps put it this way – treat your romantic interest the way you’d want your mother, grandmother, or sister to be treated. That will give them something to think about.

Add your thoughts via email at, or you can reach me on Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

  1. Not that I think the suggestion is our of line, but…

    Isn’t it ironic that the parents are using a power situation where consent is not an option to discuss power, consent and options?

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