Passionate About Pittsburgh
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Consent: When my child does not want a hug

I am Latina and I come from a culture where hugging and kissing is a sign of respect, you always hug or kiss your elders as you greet them. If you did not, you were considered to be disrespectful. I remember my mom whispering into my ear at every family/friend event telling me to go greet everyone. I was not a really shy kid so it was not an issue to me. But I do have two shy daughters  that are not open to just giving up a hug or kiss at free will (believe it or not, even with the sass!). I hate the feeling when my daughters greet my Hispanic family and they swoop in for a hug and kiss while my kid is clinging to my legs or hiding behind daddy. I feel bad that they are not showing their love immediately because I don’t want to my family thinking I am raising disrespectful kids. It is something I have had to unlearn with my girls, and something I am letting them take the lead on. I kindly explain to my family or friends that they are shy, and if they are open to a hug later they will sure do it! I have found myself constantly apologizing for their lack of immediate affection, and it is not my favorite past time.

But guess what, I won’t make them do it.

Of course they freely hug and kiss mommy, daddy, family and friends that they feel comfortable with.

Hugging daddy

Hugging mommy

hugging friends

They also give hugs to family that are sick to brighten up their day:

Hugging Nana

But if they resist or reject affection then so be it, it is their body and their right. For example, our Godson Colton is a little shy. When I greet him I ASK him if I can get a hug. Sometimes he will freely hug me and sometimes he won’t. I always let him know I am here waiting patiently if he ever feels like giving me a hug. Meanwhile, his little brother always gives me affection right away! My friend Ashley’s daughter Izzy also loves to give me hugs haha, but it was not like that in the beginning! 

I don’t want them to think that they HAVE to hug a relative or friend because “it is the right thing to do”. Unfortunately, there are some sick people out there that can easily take advantage of a little girl (or boy) that feels they have to hug or kiss an adult because it is what they were taught. They can use it to coerce or groom a child for abuse and I refuse to contribute to that by forcing my child to give affection. At the end of the day, is it their body and their choice. 

My job as a parent is protect that choice. If it hurts your feelings, I am sorry #notsorry.

What is your opinion on the subject? Feel free to share and discuss!


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One Response to Consent: When my child does not want a hug

  1. Jeannie January 2, 2018 at 1:00 pm #

    My son is 20 months old. We don’t force him to kiss or hug anyone. If he doesn’t want too he doesn’t have too. Even this morning, I was leaving for work, I asked for a kiss and he shook his head no. I got a High 5 instead.