I like the Easter bunny, really, I do. I have nothing but happy and positive things to say about Easter egg dyeing and hunting, baskets filled with candy and prizes, warmer weather, family get-togethers, sunshine, rainbows, pictures of little ones on the lap of a man (or woman) dressed like a giant bunny…Wait, rewind. That last one is a lie.
Now, maybe your kids like to sit on the lap of the mall bunny. Maybe they don’t cry while waiting in line. Hey, maybe they even smile for the picture, and what’s the harm in a picture, really? Plenty. Take for example, the sex offender Easter rabbit at Westmoreland Mall in Pennsylvania. Yes, it’s true. Look it up. He is a registered sex offender, and he was hired at the aforementioned mall to invite small children into his lap for candy and a picture with his Easter inspired self. Really? This seems like a good idea to whom?
Forcing physical contact between our children and adults, whether the adults are our friends, or relatives, or giant bunnies at the mall, is just not a good practice. When we force physical affection of any sort on our children, we set a dangerous precedent. We teach our children that their instincts are not valid.
Every person, no matter how young, should be able to choose when or even if, to offer physical contact and affection to others. 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, and we set a dangerous precedent.
Once we’ve blurred those lines, it makes teaching our littles to trust their instincts and protect their bodies all the more difficult. So maybe this spring, we could just stick to coloring eggs, finding baskets of candy, and chasing rainbows. Who’s with me?
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!