With the Christmas season coming, family and friends will be coming over to visit or get together parties will be lined up to attend to. These are the occasions for people whom we have not seen for a long time will be hugging and kissing us but will it be same for the children too? Usually, parents will be telling their children to give Uncle and Auntie a hug or a kiss on the cheek especially when they are bringing presents for them.
But with the reminder of the Girl Scouts about our daughters not owing anyone a hug, not even at the holidays, it raised a lot of reactions from people especially with the on-going news about issues on sexual harassment.
Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, the Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist said, in the Girl Scouts’ post, “the lessons girls learn when they’re young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to be respected last a lifetime.” It explains that as early as childhood they need to learn the value of respecting themselves physically and emotionally.
It shows us that we don’t need to force our children to make physical contact with other adults even if they are family, just to show gratitude or to say “Hi” or “Hello”. They can always say “Thank You” for the gift or do a high five instead. It also explains that we can ask consent from the child if they would like to hug or not.
Contrary to this, is the fact that we want our children raised with good manners. It means that we want them to growing up loving and kind to others. Especially with the holidays coming up, we want them showing these affections to everyone and that includes physical contact.
There are also families with diverse cultures and that hugging a big part of their culture. These parents learned from childhood that hugging is a part of their family thus children must learn the same as it shows a sign of greeting, loving, and appreciation to others.
In these times of great debate, of whether we let our children hug or not to hug, we need to think of their best interest always. We can always ask them how they feel about hugging Uncle and Auntie. Or else, be observant enough to notice if they seem uncomfortable with the physical contact.
The Girl Scouts added, was that girls need to be given the space to decide when and how they want to show affection. “Of course, many children may naturally want to hug and kiss family members, friends, and neighbors, and that’s lovely — but if your daughter is reticent, don’t force her,” the organization said.
This is a serious debate as it raises a lot of concern from people on how to raise their children. We as parents need to be open-minded of the issues that concern children and always be observant of their behaviour and reactions to certain situations.
Have the time to talk to your children and know their interests. It helps you connect and bond with them. Let them know that whatever happens, they can count on you to listen to them. In every situation, they should know that they have to be respected physically and emotionally.
Back to the question, to hug or not to hug, we leave it to the parents or guardian on how you will approach this with your children. Always remember to put the children’s best interest first in any given situation. Discuss it with your husband or partner and have an open mind about it.
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