Monday, July 28, 2014

Hug Like You Mean It

In light of my recent reflections on life’s many awkward moments, it seemed appropriate today that I would run into an article entitled “Your Child Should Never be Forced to Hug a Relative.”

I’m sure the title hits home to many people.

If only it was this easy to spot the bad guys. 
I recall many times being forced to offer up a hug or a kiss on the cheek to a relative or family friend when I really, really didn’t want to. When you’re a kid, there are a few of those experiences that you go through that are uncomfortable, if not cringe inducing.

Unfortunately, moms and dads care little about such matters when they’re in the midst of convincing friends and family what well adjusted, family-friendly children they’re raising.

But, while offering up a hug to a bony old aunt you’ve never heard of can be a bit awkward, what’s the harm?

Well, according to the aforementioned article, plenty.

You see, apparently, once you’ve forced a child to “submit to unwanted affection in order not to offend a relative or hurt a friend’s feelings, we teach them that their bodies do not really belong to them because they have to push aside their own feelings about what feels right to them.”

Good God.

And here you just thought you were being polite by making your kid give Great Aunt Gertrude a hug. In reality you were forcing your kids “to touch people when they don’t want to” which “leaves them vulnerable.”

The article states explicitly what kids will be vulnerable to (and you can imagine, it’s pretty much the worst stuff imaginable).

I’ll let you decide what you think of the validity of this report. 

I agree that affection should really never be forced but, I will add that I’m extremely weary of being someone who feeds into a culture of fear. Kids pick up on that too and the last thing I want is to have raised a twelve-year old who is in reality, a suspicious, cynical 50-year old.  (That’s what boarding schools are for.)

I’m not sure what the line is here but regardless, this article got me thinking about it. 

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