With all of the recent events in the media in regards to who has touched who inappropriately in Hollywood, I felt compelled to write this post. My kids don’t have to hug you, smile at you or have any contact with you if they do not wish to do so on their own. Point blank period. I know a lot of people make their kids hug and show affection to other people (friends and family) even when they don’t want to (insert give you aunt so and so a kiss etc). Some children will happily dish out a hug or a smooch and some are hesitant and just don’t want to. Not to be rude, but I hated hugging people family, neighbors etc. However, in the era I grew up in it was deemed rude if you didn’t.
Fast forward to me being a mom and raising my own kids, I don’t play that shxt. If my kids don’t want to hug someone I don’t make them. If my baby doesn’t want you to hold her I don’t force her into your arms. I was so happy when I saw that the Girls Scouts of America issued a type of PSA (public service announcement) for parents not to force their kids to hug relatives during the holidays and they also cited the recent allegations in Hollywood. Now this is not to say teach your kids to fear everyone one, but it just expands on stranger danger and hits closer to home; because well statistically most predators are someone the child knows or is very familiar with.
I hate to say it but this has long been an issue and finally people aren’t ignoring things anymore. I remember there was a time where you did not hear a lot about molestation, child pornography etc like that and when you did it was something that was taboo and shocking. Now it is all too much apart of everyday news stories and I am sick of it. Parents need to be aware of who and how their children interact with people. Also they need to know the signs that children display when they are being abused. Talk with your children and create the open door policy. As parents, as much as we would like to we can’t protect our children from everything; but this is something I feel I have control over and they do as well.
Consent is something that gets ignored a lot in our society. I am so tired of rape culture. I have three daughters and two sons. I am making it a point that they both know what consent is and that no means no. My children will not have a bleak perception of what consent is because I forced them to hug someone. My kids don’t owe anyone anything not even a simple hug. They can give you a high-five if they would like to, but they aren’t obligated to do that either. They don’t owe anyone their affection.
6 Reasons why I am not forcing my kids to give hugs
- They need to learn that they have control over their own bodies. It is just as important for my boys to know this as it is for my girls to. Even as an adult you do not have to touch someone if you don’t want to.
- Adults and other children do not have the authority to touch my child when and however they want. If my child expresses they don’t want to, are hesitant etc. I just encourage them to say hello and go about their business. I never guilt them and ask why not. The way children think, they will feel bad about making the decision not to hug someone if you question why. Of course if you are genuinely concerned and your parental instincts kick in that something is wrong then definitely ask.
- My children are my responsibility not my property. At the end of the day they are their own person and I will let them make decisions on their own with the right amount of guidance and interjections.
- It sends the wrong idea that people you know can’t be predators. Again, the statistics don’t lie. They are widely available online. I feel it skews the whole stranger danger thing. I taught my kids the basics of stranger danger and also I added to it by stating if your gut or brain tells you “hey I don’t want this person in my personal space” or “this doesn’t feel right” then remove yourself or come get me. This is not to say make your child afraid of everyone but you have established who is cool and who isn’t so let them do the same.
- It unnecessarily forces them outside of their comfort zone in a bad way. I am all for pushing my kids to explore new things etc. but if they don’t feel comfortable I am not making them. Children view their caregiver as someone who provides protection and more. Me forcing them to hug someone is not me protecting them.
- I don’t want them to think that the only way to show affection is by being physical. This goes for both girls and boys. You can show affection in other ways. It also means more when the affection shared is mutual.
So that’s it! Simple as that, even though I don’t really owe any explanations of anything in regards to my children but I felt that it needed to be addressed. I am sure there are other parents who want to say the same thing, but maybe they don’t know how to without hurting someone’s feelings. At the end of the day you are the parent. If someone truly has a problem with you not wanting your kids to be touched you may want to rethink things in regards to that person. Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the company of your associates, friends, and family safely!