Do You Make Your Kids Hug Their Relatives? The Girl Scouts Weigh In


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With Thanksgiving this week, the front doors of many households in America may as well be revolving doors with the constant influx of relatives and friends coming to visit and nosh on pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving officially ushers in the start of the Great Winter Holiday Rush—and sometimes it can feel like every spare weekend is booked with holiday visits. Our kids inevitably tag along from house to house, visit to visit, and often, before we pack them into the car en route to another holiday, we scoot them towards Nana or Uncle or Granddad or Cousin: “Go give so-and-so a hug and a kiss before we leave.”

photo: Jaime González via Flickr 

Do you make your kids hug their relatives during the holidays? In a recent blog post that’s lit up social media, the Girl Scouts of America have urged parents to think twice before pushing their kids into hugs they may not want. In the light of recent allegations about sexual harassment and consent in Hollywood and politics, the message of consent is just as important a message for parents to be reminded of this time of year, too. In their post, the Girl Scouts write:

“Think of it this way, telling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasn’t seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she “owes” another person any type of physical affection when they’ve bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life.”

The entire post, “Reminder: She Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Hug. Not Even at the Holidays,” is definitely worth a read at the Girl Scouts’ website.

Teaching your kids about consent—not just daughters, but sons, too—is never an easy conversation to have, but it’s necessary, especially before the seemingly endless parade of relatives as the holidays approach.

What you do think: have the Girl Scouts come out too harshly against hugs? Or does their blog post encourage a family conversation that’s long overdue with our kids? Let’s hug it out—or not, this is a judgment-free zone—in the comments below.

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