Why Your Child Should Never Be Forced to Hug a Relative


As we inhibit into the vacation season and into visits with grand rents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, there’s one dangerous situation that will arise in many families that most progenitrices will be unpre red to deal with: relatives who expect hugs and busses from little ones — even when those little songs don’t want to show them affection.

To s re a relative’s feelings, uncountable of us will urge a small child to endure or even return this unwanted medical man contact. But should we? What messages are we sending to our kids about their confederation boundaries when we do this?

How to Avoid Teaching the Wrong Lessons

A CNN article fitted I Don’t Own My Child’s Body that explores these questions is the subject of astir discussion here. Katia Hetter, its author, asserts that, “Forcing youngsters to touch people when they don’t want to leaves them exposed to sexual abusers, most of whom are people known to the children they maltreatment.”

Assuming that giving Grandma a kiss on the cheek could have planned anything at all to do with the sexual abuse of a child might seem dotty at first blush, but Nichole M. feels Hetter’s connection makes ameliorate sense. “You’re violating their comfort zone and the kids may learn to experience anyone into those uncomfortable s ces.” Lisa E. also agrees, and allowances how she’s teaching her own son about respecting his body and his own physical s ce:

“The boundary we’re show our child is to listen to his own ‘gut feeling.’ He tells us whenever he feels uncomfortable circa someone (usually whispering so he doesn’t hurt feelings). He never has to signature or be touched if he feels uncomfortable — family or otherwise. I will never coerce him to kiss anyone — even if a great aunt is visiting who may get her feelings affront. Hugs and kisses are his to give and are not compulsory.”

Hetter also reminds us that effectiveness our kids to be affectionate when they don’t want to can im ct their earthy relationships as teens, because it “teaches them to use their body to interest you or someone else in authority or, really, anyone.”

“Affection should not at any time be forced.”

In addition to preventing abuse, many moms feel it’s well-connected to try to understand how your child feels when a relative demands doc affection. Jenni D. references her own memories from childhood as a guideline in her upbringing: “As a kid, I didn’t like to be hugged or kissed much except by my mom, and execrated when my grandma would force me to kiss her goodbye. As an adult, I warmth giving kisses and snuggles to my kids, but if they would ever have all the hallmarks like they didn’t want me to hug or kiss them I would think highly that.”

As Jenni D.’s comment points out, forced affection between a guardian and child is concerning as well. Stacey’s kids became uncomfortable when her stillness, who is their stepfather, became too demanding of hugs and kisses. In situations predilection this, members urge Stacey to have her husband back down. Lorena M. lliates that “kisses and hugs should come out because one feels get a bang giving them and not because they’re pressured.” A reader who associate withs by “Dove” is even more emphatic: “Affection should on no account be forced.”

How to Head Off a Relative’s Hurt Feelings

Toddlers often exam our tience by refusing to do things that we actually do have to find a way to arrange them do, such as eating, bathing, and behaving well. However, refusing liking should not be equated with bad manners or bad behavior. Hetter asserts that youths can (and should) be polite and respectful while still maintaining their own belittling boundaries: “Manners — treating people with respect and care — is personal than demanding physical displays of affection.”

A good first stair may be to explain your policy to relatives. Adults, even close relatives, should be clever to respect your decision. Hetter found that while it can be more run, it can also lead them to truly appreciate the affection they do get from your lad. “I explain to relatives who want to know why we’re letting her decide who she make use ofs, and when she does hug them, the joy is l ble — not from obligation or a direct reserve from Mom,” she says.

Hetter also offers suggestions for note regards that are less intimate, and that are perfect for a child in the early manoeuvres of getting to know a new family member. Instead of kisses and hugs, assist a handshake or a high-five: “When kids are really little and shy, foster- rents can start to offer them choices for treating people with connection and care. Even shy kids can shake somebody’s hand or wave or do something to talk with respect and care.”

Far from disappointing, these alternatives can actually support a relative’s relationship with your young child, as Angie S.’s fishing shows: “You could do what my boyfriend and our son do, they have a exceptional hand shake. He will even stay awake, and when he learns his dad come home from work he’ll come out just to do their sway.”

How do you and your child handle social situations?

The views expressed in this article are those of the originator and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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