Forcing the war on Grandma’s kisses is crossing the lines of sexual interaction
By Lala Fogarty
Give your grandma a kiss. Give our friend a hug. Harmless words, right? All you’re asking is that your child shows some kindness, correct? All you are teaching is that he not be rude, right? Turns out, that’s not so right after all. 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.
Not all kids will respond well to friendly advances, the decision weather to not to show affection should come from them. Parents who don’t feel comfortable when people ask for kisses from their children can direct the awkwardness by suggesting the child give a high-five or satisfy the individual with a wave and a smile.
Every person, no matter how young, should be able to choose when or even if to offer physical affection to 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?
We want little Johnny to understand that his intimacy and his affection is his own, and is under his control. He is never to feel obligated to give affection away for someone else’s benefits. Affection is not apart of a social ritual to be demanded on cue.