Holidays are approaching. It is time to visit grandparents, aunts, cousins and other relatives. Many families have at least once faced such an awkward situation when relatives are expecting hugs and kisses from your children, but they don’t want to show such signs of affection.
Not to abuse the family, parents often force their children to endure hugs and kisses, and sometimes they even start themselves to hug and kiss countless amount of aunts, uncles, grandmothers and brothers. But what message do we send to the subconsciousness of our child about his or her body boundaries?
Forcing children to close contact with other people makes them vulnerable to sexual abusing and defilement!
An article of the British magazine CNN «I Don’t Own My Child’s Body» touches this important topic. The author of the article claims that forcing people to close contact with other people makes them vulnerable to sexual abusing and defilement.
At first sight, comparing an innocent granny’s kiss with sexual abusing may seem to be really crazy. But after thinking once more, you may understand that there is some sense in this. When you force the child to hug someone against his will, you break his comfort zone, interfere into his personal space and show disrespect to his body.
Don’t cry at the child if he doesn’t want to hug!
It is very important to teach the child to listen to his wishes, explain him that no one should touch him against his will and that he shouldn’t let anyone touch him against his wish. Hugs and kisses (even from close people) are not an obligatory ritual. When you force the child to hug somebody not to insult feelings of relatives, you may negatively affect his sexual relations in adolescence life. Such person can easily be manipulated because he is accustomed to use his body for satisfying another person.
Love and affection can be shown in many other ways without breaking the borders of personal space. No one can ever demand from your children proves of their affection or warm feelings!
Children often try our patience and refuse to do things we ask them to. However, you shouldn’t consider the refusing from hugs or other physical contact as bad behavior. Good manners during the visit include politeness, good behavior and care.
How not to hurt feelings of relatives in such situation?
At first, explain them your position. Of course, at the beginning your relatives may be surprised and not support such approach to upbringing, but soon they will start valuing affection received from your child much higher. Because in this case it will be sincere and will come from the child, but not from his mother’s order.
Secondly, teach your child less intimate greetings: he can shake hands or give “high five.” Children may sometimes be too shy, and rude interfering into their personal space may embarrass them greatly. A different story is to wave a hand to someone you know or to send an air kiss.
Surprisingly, but such methods may strengthen relations of your child with relatives much. Another great idea is to invent some funny «family» hand shaking or another gesture that the child will associate with the closest people.