Now that Thanksgiving is here, and the holiday season has just started, the Girl Scouts of America bring some advice for parents. The association encourages people not to force their daughters to hug their relatives if they are not willing to. Such a behavior might make them feel like they owe something to a person for getting them present, and such a mentality might prove extremely toxic for them later in life.
Girl Scouts want to protect girls from unpleasant hugging
During the holiday season, kids receive a lot of presents both from their parents and from other more distant relatives. Whenever they receive something, parents usually tell their kids it’s nice to thank the relative and give them a hug. However, this might prove extremely harmful for little girls.
Teaching them to hug a person in return for receiving a present might make them feel they owe it to that person. This way, they might develop the feeling that they need to offer some physical compensation whenever someone is nice to them. Such a conviction can end up hurting them a lot in the future.
Teaching children about boundaries and consent is a good idea
The Girl Scouts of America presented these recommendations in response to the storm of accusations of sexual misconduct directed against famous men. Therefore, if the girls don’t feel comfortable with hugging people when they give them presents, they shouldn’t force them to do it. There are other ways to thank them, such as a smile or a few kind words.
This message went viral on social media, and people responded in different ways. Psychiatrist Janet Taylor explained that forcing children to engage in physical contact is, indeed, a bad idea. However, this doesn’t mean that parents should exaggerate and keep the kids from any kind of touch.
It’s never too late to start a conversation about when it’s okay to touch or hug someone, and when it’s not. Also, children should be thoroughly explained the idea of consent. The Thanksgiving Day might be the perfect moment to do it, but be careful not to create an unnecessary fear in your child.
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