REAL LIFE

Why It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The Holidays

Date November 21, 2018 19:36

The holiday season is upon us. And for many people, it's a time to reconnect with relatives. The kids get to play with cousins, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, and uncles. So, of course, you want them to have fun and socialize.

However, experts are now warning that there should be a limit to what you encourage your child to do when it comes to greeting and spending some time with relatives.

Why It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysWhy It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysWhy It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysWhy It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The Holidayssirtravelalot / Shutterstock.com

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When an aunt insists on hugging and kissing every child in the room during these get-togethers and your kid does not want to, you should not make them. It's wrong to force your children to endure unwanted affection from relatives. Parenting expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa, who spoke to TODAY about her views, explained that physical touch isn't something we force someone else to accept, regardless of their age. 

It is super confusing to send kids the mixed messages of body privacy and body safety and then force them to do something intimate with their bodies.

Why It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysWhy It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysWhy It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysWhy It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysOlya Lytvyn / Shutterstock.com

The Girl Scouts also shared a similar reminder to parents saying:

(Your child)  doesn't owe anyone a hug. Not even at the holidays.

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Why It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysWhy It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysWhy It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysWhy It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysTeaching Children Consentanna.danilkova / Shutterstock.com

The reason is that, as children are learning about consent, forcing them to hug and kiss other adults create confusion. If mom and dad can make them show affection to somebody else, does that mean they always have to listen to adults when it comes to what they should and shouldn't do with their bodies?

Gilboa explained that when it comes to consent, the best way to teach them is to let them understand that when they say no, people should listen, no matter who they are.

Why It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysWhy It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysWhy It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysWhy It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysMartin Novak / Shutterstock.com

You can have a chat with your kids beforehand. Ask them if there's a reason they are uncomfortable with certain people. Together, you can also come up with alternative ways for the child to show affection if they don't want to be touched. They can make a drawing for the relative, for instance, or sing for them. 

Why It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysWhy It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysWhy It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysWhy It's Wrong For Parents To Force Their Children To Hug And Kiss Relatives During The HolidaysVelazquez77 / Shutterstock.com

Your kids should be taught about privacy and boundaries; they should know that others must respect their physical space.

While they learn a lot by your own examples of respecting others, it's crucial that they also understand that when it is their turn to create boundaries, no matter how young they are, others are expected to respect them.

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