“Don’t make your daughters hug their relatives,” says Girl Scouts of America

What do you make of their advice?

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Loads of people have been talking about a recent statement made by the Girls Scouts of America. It’s easy to see why, too.

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The popular troupe – not totally unlike the Brownies over here in the UK – have asked parents NOT to encourage their young daughters to hug or kiss relatives over Christmas.

They say it’s because it might make them feel obliged to give ‘physical affection’ after receiving a gift or an act of kindness when they’re older.

“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 have bought her dinner, or done something else seemingly nice, for her later in life.”

The Girl Scouts then suggest a few other ways little girls can give thanks for a prezzie, without involving a hug:

“There are many other ways to show appreciation, thankfulness, and love that don’t require physical contact.

“Saying how much she’s missed someone or thank you with a smile, a high-five, or even an air kiss, are all ways she can express herself, and it’s important that she knows she gets to choose which feels most comfortable to her.”

Dr Andrea Archibald, a developmental psychologist working with the organisation, also emphasised the importance of consent in relation to their comments:

“The notion of consent may seem very grown-up, and like something that doesn’t pertain to children, but the lessons girls learn when they’re young about setting physical boundaries, and expecting them to be respected, last a lifetime.”

Hmmm. So, reaction to this has been pretty mixed.

Some commentators have implied that the article is possibly creating anxiety rather than reigning it in.

One New York psychiatrist named Dr Janet Taylor told ABC News: “I just caution parents about limiting family attachment and that kind of loving space that a lot of time only happens at the holidays.”

Indeed, Christmas is often the longest period of time in which the wider fam can get together, and the hug-and-cheek-kiss thank you can help build those family bonds going forward ?

On the other hand, we definitely understand the message behind this, and agree that all children need to know when things are appropriate, when things aren’t and how to act in a number of different situations as they get older…

Have your say

Do you agree with the statement – and do you think not encouraging hugs is the right way to go about things?

Or do you think, perhaps, a straight-up talk about good touch, bad touch and behaviour is more appropriate?

Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.

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