Do You Force Your Kids to Show Affection?

As a volunteer Coach for Girls on the Run Dover, some of the kids were more touchy and some weren’t. We had one girl who would hug each of the Coaches after each practice. It was something she started and she was the only one who did it, and it was fine. Some kids hang on you and some don’t. Doesn’t it come down to whatever is most comfortable and/or normal for them?

Do you force your kids to hug family and friends? The Girl Scouts thinks you should stop.

I gotta say…I usually come from the “we’re being a little ridiculous with how sensitive we are” school of thought. That was my immediate reaction after first seeing this link my friend posted to Facebook. I did what I always do: read the comments first and people were equally divided on the topic. But the more I read, the more I began to think how weird it is to force a child to give affection as a reward or because “it’s owed.”

The Girl Scout’s article refers to affecting girls to think they owe affection when someone does something nice for them, even if the child didn’t ask for said thing to be done, which tends to be the case especially around the holiday season.

Chances are, you’ve experienced this. I remember being told to hug & kiss family members when I was a kid. I didn’t like it, because I didn’t know them, maybe it had been a while since I’ve seen them, or they just weren’t a person I was comfortable being affectionate with. I also don’t come from a super touchy-feely family so the practice of getting right in someone’s face was weird. It’s still weird now. I’m not a close talker, I only like or appreciate being touched by specific people.

My Uncle Bill was/is like my father, so I was always very comfortable with him. Look how adorable I am!

If you’re an adult, you’ve been on the other side of this. A kid hesitantly or begrudgingly giving you a hug. I don’t want affection from a child if they don’t want to give it. I have little cousins who I just high five, and I’ve had friend’s kids climb all over me (I’m tall, I’m like a jungle gym to kids) or fall asleep on my lap while snuggling. It’s a personal preference and I’m only as comfortable as the other person.

My bottom line: it’s always the right thing to do to teach your kid manners. Physical affection is not always warranted, or wanted. A sincere “thank you” is way better and much more appreciated than an unwanted hug. And if you want to force cuddles on something, get a pet.

While she was still tiny enough to snuggle!

What do you think? Read the article and weigh in!

Reminder: Your Daughter Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Hug. Not Even at The Holidays.

Making her hug even loved ones sends the wrong message about consent.

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