What better place to voice your parenting concerns than on the good old internet? A mom under the username pleasecreateausername recently shared her frustrations about her daughter being “forced to give or accept hugs and kisses.” In a message on mumsnetthe parent asked other users if anyone thought the same about the matter, after explaining her position on the matter.
Subtitled “Can we stop forcing kids to give and accept hugs and kisses?”, the post was shared on the “parenting channel” and received a total of 104 responses.
“We don’t want our [dear daughter] Who is [3 years old] being forced to give or accept cuddly toys and kiss. We say it’s her body and her choice,” the mother wrote.
The mother explained that she felt that “this boundary is challenged almost daily and in most cases emotional blackmail is used to get the hug, for example ‘I will cry if you don’t hug me’.” According to the parent, the answer ‘no’ is usually just ‘not accepted and they just hug and/or kiss her anyway’.
She also expressed concern about the importance of children understanding the meaning of consent at an early age: “How can a child navigate to keep themselves safe and understand consent when they have no choice in the matter?” she shared.
Towards the end of the post, the mom asked for advice from other users about setting clear boundaries, saying, “I want them to respect her when she says no.”
Many users on the platform supported the mother’s opinion.
“I completely agree. I have always firmly believed that I would never [dear daughter] hug or kiss everyone,” one user wrote.
“Strongly agree. It’s terrible when adults try to force small children to get or give hugs and kisses,” agrees another user.
“Children should be taught from an early age, their bodies their choice,” added another commenter.
Meanwhile, a user has decided to share his own experience:
“Luckily, our family respected this line. They thought we were a little strange at first, but they knew better than to say something or feel guilty,” the user said.
The user also offered advice on the matter: “Start lecturing them on permission every time it happens and they’ll stop. Plus your [darling child] gets a good example of standing up for [herself/himself]†
Another user also shared a method that worked for their child: “We taught ours to STOP if someone does something they don’t want to (like tickles, hugs, and kisses).”
“When we get there, we can explain to the person that we’re teaching them that when they say STOP, they can expect the person to stop, so they know if the person continues, it’s not right or acceptable,” the user added. .
According to Airial Clark, parenting and sexual health expert, it’s never too early for children to understand and practice physical autonomy. In an interview with Parents.com, Clark explained that “affection should be given freely, meaning it should be withheld freely.”
Clark suggests that parents encourage their children to “choose what feels right to them” and offer a few alternatives.
For example, handshakes, high-fives or a simple wave as a goodbye gesture may be more pleasant for your child than hugging or kissing. And to “set the right expectations for family members and friends,” Clark advises saying, “‘We love high fives now’; ‘We’re working on personal space’; or ‘I’m teaching my kids to ask someone before cuddling. Asking them if it’s okay before cuddling them will help them learn.'”
An article published on the Michigan State University website advises parents to offer their children a choice. Other good alternatives to physical affection gestures are a punch of the fist or a simple “hello/goodbye” at greeting or farewell. It suggests talking to your family members and explaining why you don’t like having your child cuddled or kissed. “Many people may not understand at first, but giving an explanation will help ease the hurt feelings,” the article says.
It wouldn’t be the first time a Mumsnet post has sparked a debate about parenting. news week previously discussed another post in which a mother shared her fear to potentially ruin her daughter’s future by giving her an “unusual name.” news week also reported on a story about how another mom asked other Mumsnet users “Am I Satan?” because she wanted to give away her daughter’s puppy.