The holidays are supposed to be a joyous season. You get to enjoy decorations, festive music and pumpkin-spice-everything (and mint - mint everything). That's all well and good. But if we're being completely honest, the holidays are stressful as hell. From Thanksgiving to Black Friday to Christmas to New Year's Eve, it's a seemingly never-ending series of obligations and fights waiting to happen.
It's fitting we're supposed to spend time with our families during the holidays. After all, families are like the holidays. They're supposed to be a source of comfort and joy, but often cause stress due to the obligations associated with them.
The blog is titled, "Remember: She Doesn't Owe Anyone A Hug. Not Even At The Holidays." It starts by saying that yes, family time during the holidays can be wonderful. But seemingly innocent interactions with family members can having lasting negative repercussions.
The main theme revolves around consent. This is an especially hot button issue these days, with all the stories of sexual misconduct allegations in the news. Of course, women know all too well that this isn't a new issue, it's just making everyone more aware of what they go through on a daily basis.
So how does consent factor in to not forcing children to hug relatives? Well, have you ever told your daughter to hug their uncle they haven't seen in a while or to kiss their aunt because they gave them a present? These can create feelings of obligation in the young that play out in different ways as they get older.
By subconsciously being taught that someone is "owed" affection for existing or being nice, women might experience feelings of guilt later in life. For example, they may be on a date and question themselves as to whether they owe the person their body, since they bought them something or were nice to them. To be clear, women don't owe anyone a hug or anything else.
Does this seem a bit dramatic? Is the idea of consent too grown up of a topic to be discussing about children of a young age? Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald doesn't think so at all.
Dr. Archibald says that youth is the perfect time to instill these lessons in girls. It should be instinctual to be able to speak up about what does and doesn't make them comfortable, and can help create a more positive self-image.
"The lessons girls learn when they’re young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to berespectedlast a lifetime, and can influence how she feels about herself and her body as she gets older."
She continued, saying that teaching this can also help keep your daughter safe.
"Plus, sadly, we know that some adults prey on children. Teaching your daughter about consent early on can help her understand her rights, know when lines are being crossed and when to go to you for help."
How did the internet react to the suggestion that you shouldn't force your child to hug their relatives? How does the internet always react? Outraged comments flooded in accusing this post of being ridiculous and pushing an agenda.
To be clear, this post didn't say kids shouldn't hug their relatives. It just said they shouldn't be forced into it. Allow them space to choose how they do it, and most will likely be happy to show affection to their family members.
This post also didn't say kids should be allowed to be brats. The Golden Rule still applies here. You can teach your child about manners and gratitude without forcing them to become physical with someone.
If your child is naturally affectionate and likes hugging, high-fiving or blowing kisses to friends, family members and neighbors, that's great. If they're shy, they shouldn't be forced into doing something that makes them uncomfortable, because even besides the issues already discussed, you could be imprinting a negative connotation of these interactions on them. It's best to let them choose how they show their affection.
Does this all sound like a bit much? Or is this a perfect lesson to teach daughters that will have a positive impact as they grow up? It's sad the world seems almost too dangerous for Girl Scouts, but regardless of how you personally feel about this advice, it's nice to know there's still an organization looking out for young girls.