Should you make your child hug relatives?

It can be a bit awks when gran wants a hug and your little one's not keen - but should you ever force them to do it?

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We’ve probably all had the scenario when, after a visit, gran or uncle asks for a hug from your little before they go – but instead they get a pouty face, crossed arms and the general cold shoulder.

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Or our child gives us a sideways glance in desperation that quite clearly says: “Please don’t make me do it, mummy.” ?

We might have been on the other side of it, too, when we’re the doting aunty desperate for a hug from our niece or nephew.

We really want one – even though we know we’re not gonna get it ?

So, what do you do when you get a sitch like this? Is it ever OK to make your little one do it? Even if it’s just with a persuasive: “Go on, give your grandad a hug… go on!!!”

Here’s what our mums said….

“I always expect my children to be polite and say hello/goodbye but I would never force them to hug or kiss anyone, family or otherwise,” Teresa M says. “I wouldn’t hug or kiss someone I don’t want to so why should they!”

And Angela H totally agrees: “I was forced as a child to kiss and cuddle everyone hello and goodbye and I hated it.

“So with my kids I definitely encourage them to cuddle grandparents goodbye – but no one else unless they choose to.

“But the rule is they must be polite and say goodbye. To be honest I’m not fond of them kissing anyone, not even family (except parents and siblings).”

Some of you get annoyed with the grown-ups on this one: “I always ask my kids: ‘Do you want to give any hugs or anything before we go/they go?’ and leave it as their choice – but I’m getting increasingly frustrated with some relatives that ignore the question and grab them regardless,” says Jolene G.

Others of you wish your little ones were a bit more obliging. “My boys never liked to hug and kiss the ladies but I think they should – their grandmas get upset when their grandchildren don’t want a hug and kiss. It’s a form of love,” Maureen H tells us.

Hannah D has 2 very different children: “I was a naturally huggy child however my daughter is not,” she says. “She can come across VERY rude. I have said to her to at least smile but she rarely does.

“Am I doing something wrong? She is a lot like my husband’s side of the family. Not tactile. She is with me and my mum but that’s it. She is nearly 6.

“My son is very affectionate.”

And Francesca H says that – while it might not be something she particularly likes – that’s just how it is for now: 

“My 6 -year-old won’t even say bye to people and if we bump into somebody we know she very rarely acknowledges they’re even there – so no I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong.

“I think that some children just don’t like to be given any attention unless it’s the right time for them. If we’re at somebody else’s house then she’s a bit more social, but I’d never expect her to do something she doesn’t want to including saying bye/hugs etc.

“It can seem really rude at times but they have minds and feelings just like us!”

What do you think?

Do you feel bad when your little one refuses to hug a relative? Would you make them do it? Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook

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