By Laura Fogerty
Give your grandma a kiss. Give our friend a hug. Harmless words, right? All you’re asking is that your child shows some kindness, true? All you are teaching is that he not be rude, right? Turns out, that’s not so correct after all. When we force physical affection of any sort on our children, we set the dangerous precedent that their instincts are not valid.
Every person, no matter how young, should be able to choose when or even if to have physical contact with others. Just because we, as parents, may have a comfort level with a friend or relative doesn’t mean our kids share that same level of comfort or trust. When we force our children to greet someone or say goodbye with a hug or a kiss or even a handshake, we blur the boundary lines.
Once we’ve blurred those lines, it makes teaching our littles to trust their instincts and protect their bodies all the more difficult. We are allowed to deny affection and physical contact to others when and where we deem appropriate. Don’t our children deserve the same?
Editor, Ask Lala
Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!
Laura has an ACE score of 6.
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