A gentleholiday reminder about kids and forced hugs: Dont. Girl Scouts of the United States of America offers the following evergreen advice, which it just released to help families prepare for a season of gatherings. Holidays and family get-togethers are a time for yummy food, sweet traditions, funny stories, and lots and lots of love, reads an article on GirlScouts.org. But they could, without you even realising it, also be a time when your daughter gets the wrong idea about consent and physical affection. This advice, Id argue, has never been more timely. Think of it this way, the Girl Scouts recommend, telling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasnt seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she owes another person any type of physical affection when theyve bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life. Of course, this goes for boys, too. The American Academy of Paediatrics, on its healthychildren.org blog, offers the following recommendation about hugs: Do not force your children to give hugs or kisses to people they do not want to. It is their right to tell even grandma or grandpa that they do not want to give them a kiss or a hug goodbye. Inappropriate touching especially by a trusted adult can be very confusing to a child.
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