(CNN) — My daughter occasionally goes on a hugging and kissing strike.
She’s 4. Her parents could get a hug or a kiss, but many people who know her cannot, at least right now. And I won’t make her.
“I would like you to hug Grandma, but I won’t make you do it,” I told her recently.
“I don’t have to?” she asked, cuddling up to me at bedtime, confirming the facts to be sure.
No, she doesn’t have to. And just to be clear, there is no passive-aggressive, conditional, manipulative nonsense behind my statement. I mean what I say. She doesn’t have to hug or kiss anyone just because I say so, not even me. I will not override my own child’s currently strong instincts to back off from touching someone who she chooses not to touch.
I figure her body is actually hers, not mine.
It doesn’t belong to her parents, preschool teacher, dance teacher or soccer coach. While she must treat people with respect, she doesn’t have to offer physical affection to please them. And the earlier she learns ownership of herself and responsibility for her body, the better for her.
(More at the source.)
Filing this under “things to teach my children.”
This is pretty cool parenting.
I agree with this, but at the same time, I am not going to wait to ask for permission from my crying daughter before I rub her back to soothe her. If she flinches or says something, of course I will respect that.
Somedays, when she arrives to her classroom, she is greeted with hugs from several classmates, but they are also taught to respect one another’s space, too. I actually saw a chase happen once because *dammit* that kid wanted her hug!
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