Guilting kids into kisses... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 01-09-2011, 01:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What do you say when relatives attempt to guilt your child into giving them affection?

 

Again, I was passing through MILs house to get to my house because I don't feel comfortable going to the backyard through the gangway by myself.  Shady people have been seen in our backyard..  anyways, MIL asked DD1 (3yo) for a kiss.  "No, I'm going home" (not being snooty, just a sincere "no").  MIL says "ohhh DD2 (12mos) will give me my kiss!" MIL asks and DD2 lunges for MIL with an open mouth (um, ick, but cute I guess, lol.  DD2 is a smoocher...).  DD1 shrugs.  She doesn't care.  She's still walking towards the back door.  Mil whines "Eaughhhhoohhhhh!!! I'm going to be soooo vewwy sad if yew don't gib me a kissss!! euooooghhh! *fake cries*"  DD1 replies again, (firmly) NO, BYE GRANDMA, I'm going home now.  I replied to DD (as I'm following her, but still so MIL can hear), "Don't worry, N, no one is going to be sad.  Let's go and make dinner."

 

It didn't phase my DD one way or the other but MIL isn't the only one who does this (she's just the most dramatic, lol).  What do you say to people?  Should I even mention it to the person or should I just redirect my DD and act the same way I did (Don't worry, no one will be sad, etc. You don't have to kiss anyone you don't want to, etc.)?

 

I hate when people try to coerce affection out of a kid.  I don't even do that, and they're MY kids!! 


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#2 of 29 Old 01-09-2011, 02:10 AM
 
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My Mum does exactly the same thing to my 22 month old DD. To be honest I hadn't really thought about it until I read your post, but I can see her continuing to do it as my DD gets older. I'll probably end up telling her to stop trying to guilt trip her, but if it was my MIL, I'm not sure how I'd handle it.

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#3 of 29 Old 01-09-2011, 08:50 AM
 
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I usually make it about my child (in my case, my DS does not like being affectionate) in general, rather than the person specifically. So, I'll say something like, "he really doesn't like to kiss people much." That works for most people.


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#4 of 29 Old 01-09-2011, 09:00 AM
 
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My MIL does this too - fake cries even. She also will sometimes try to blackmail ds for a kiss/hug (I'll give you this toy/food/drink for a kiss). I HATE it!!!! Dh & I have said something a few times & she then just says she's just joking but I wish she would stop it altogether. What I totally don't get about it is he is very affectionate & gives spontaneous hugs & kisses all the time so imo there is no reason for it.


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#5 of 29 Old 01-09-2011, 09:54 AM
 
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I'm very sharp in my response to people who ask DD for a hug or  kiss (personally, I don't want people kissing on my kid). She's very affectionate but not with people she's not around often. It's usually, "you don't want to give me a hug?". On the one occasion where a relative tried to bribe her I was annoyed and just responded, "don't do that. seriously. if she doesn't want a hug let it go."

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#6 of 29 Old 01-09-2011, 09:56 AM
 
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I say nothing to the person who is carrying on.  But I taught my kids that they don't have to do anything if it makes them uncomfortable--hugs, kisses, etc.  And tell them about guilt tripping and how to deal with emotional blackmail.  Both are a hot buttons for me.  Anything from charity appeals and political ads on TV and in the mail to family members/friends who are excessive greeters to potential sexual predator strangers.

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#7 of 29 Old 01-09-2011, 01:26 PM
 
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I think you have handled it perfectly and your daughter's reaction was great! Keep doing what you have been doing (and it is normal in latino families to force kisses....)

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#8 of 29 Old 01-09-2011, 01:50 PM
 
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I look at the person in question straight in the eye and say as clearly as possible "She/he said 'no' and doesn't feel like giving a kiss/hug right now." I do this mostly to make it clear to my children that they have the right to make their own personal boundaries and I will help enforce them if necessary.


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#9 of 29 Old 01-09-2011, 03:14 PM
 
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I look at the person in question straight in the eye and say as clearly as possible "She/he said 'no' and doesn't feel like giving a kiss/hug right now." I do this mostly to make it clear to my children that they have the right to make their own personal boundaries and I will help enforce them if necessary.


Exactly this. Your MIL is going to have to learn to respect your DD's boundaries at some point, and this is just going to continue if you aren't direct and to the point with her.

Although I think the fake cutsey baby talk would bother me just as much as the guilt trip!
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#10 of 29 Old 01-09-2011, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post

I look at the person in question straight in the eye and say as clearly as possible "She/he said 'no' and doesn't feel like giving a kiss/hug right now." I do this mostly to make it clear to my children that they have the right to make their own personal boundaries and I will help enforce them if necessary.




Exactly this. Your MIL is going to have to learn to respect your DD's boundaries at some point, and this is just going to continue if you aren't direct and to the point with her.

Although I think the fake cutsey baby talk would bother me just as much as the guilt trip!


 Thanks Everyone (=

 

And rofl yeah, the baby talk is horrid.

 

MIL isn't the only person who does this, and though I don't mind telling her off, I just don't really know how to approach others about it... like people we don't see as often (once/wk) but are still family.  Kwim?

 

Also, I hate it when they try to force DD to kiss her cousin.  Or force him to kiss her.  They're always telling him (um, let's call him... Rex)  "Rex, go kiss your cousin!  Give her a kiss!  Kiss her!  Give her a hug" and he just ignores him, but it is to the point where his mother/grandmother grabs his head or pushes him into my DD so that they'll kiss.  My DD gets bashful but doesn't mind.  He acts like they're making him eat poison.  It stinks because my DD is still observing a parent not listening to their child about how to show affection- forcing affection out of them.  Ick.  I'm rambling.  It's something that just doesn't sit well with me.  I even see kids and their parents doing it at playgroups!


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#11 of 29 Old 01-09-2011, 07:25 PM
 
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Yuck.  My child does not have to kiss a person if THEY don't want to!  There are *so* many other ways to show that you love a person, why should it EVER have to be focused on whether or not a child is doing what YOU want at this exact moment in time?!

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#12 of 29 Old 01-10-2011, 01:36 AM
 
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Fortunately, I have not run into this problem with relatives, but I can tell you I would not tolerate it. My kids are free to say no to hugs and kisses from relatives if they wish. I have made it clear to them that their bodies and personal space belong to them. If someone does not want a hug or kiss from a grandparent, other sibling, or myself, it is respected.

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#13 of 29 Old 01-10-2011, 07:04 AM
 
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I don't know, I have mixed feelings about this.

 

On the one hand, I agree with you all that kids shouldn't be forced to kiss/hug/etc. if they don't want to.

 

But on the other hand, I have a kid who is not naturally affectionate... well maybe that's not what I mean... he doesn't know how to show affection physically, he doesn't understand it... and his grandparents are the ones that finally taught him a month ago to give a "real" hug. Before he would just kind of lean his head toward someone, but they taught him "squeeze hugs" where you put your arms out (you know, a normal hug)... and he loves giving those hugs now. He is also the kind of kid that sometimes WANTS to do something but can't/won't take the initiative to do it on his own, you have to physically start the motion for him and then he can do it... Maybe my DS is just different though. Also he's only 23mos. Of course I don't want anyone forcing him to hug (or kiss etc.) against his will but he really does need some encouragement. 

 

But then on the other hand I grew up with a father who required kisses. One on each cheek. We couldn't have/do something we wanted (open a gift, for ex.) without giving X number of kisses first. And now, even though I love my dad, I really hate showing him affection.

 

So I like the pp's suggestions but I kind of feel like in some cases it may be OK to give some leeway too, I'm not really sure, and I guess my feelings on this will change as DS gets older & goes through different stages. It's all about the kid & their reaction, I guess. And I have a hard time believing that Aunt Opal who sees the kid once a year is going to cause any real damage by guilting a kid into giving a kiss (in an otherwise safe setting), beyond that the kid just may start to hate Aunt Opal... Anyway, OP, I think you must be doing something right because it sounds like your DD did a great job of standing up for herself without you intervening. :) 


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#14 of 29 Old 01-10-2011, 10:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post

I look at the person in question straight in the eye and say as clearly as possible "She/he said 'no' and doesn't feel like giving a kiss/hug right now." I do this mostly to make it clear to my children that they have the right to make their own personal boundaries and I will help enforce them if necessary.



This exactly.  I usually follow up by saying to the person  "I think forcing kids to give/receive affection against their will teaches a dangerous lesson."

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#15 of 29 Old 01-11-2011, 06:46 AM
 
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I don't know, I have mixed feelings about this.

 

On the one hand, I agree with you all that kids shouldn't be forced to kiss/hug/etc. if they don't want to.

 

But on the other hand, I have a kid who is not naturally affectionate... well maybe that's not what I mean... he doesn't know how to show affection physically, he doesn't understand it... and his grandparents are the ones that finally taught him a month ago to give a "real" hug. Before he would just kind of lean his head toward someone, but they taught him "squeeze hugs" where you put your arms out (you know, a normal hug)... and he loves giving those hugs now. He is also the kind of kid that sometimes WANTS to do something but can't/won't take the initiative to do it on his own, you have to physically start the motion for him and then he can do it... Maybe my DS is just different though. Also he's only 23mos. Of course I don't want anyone forcing him to hug (or kiss etc.) against his will but he really does need some encouragement. 

 

But then on the other hand I grew up with a father who required kisses. One on each cheek. We couldn't have/do something we wanted (open a gift, for ex.) without giving X number of kisses first. And now, even though I love my dad, I really hate showing him affection.

 

So I like the pp's suggestions but I kind of feel like in some cases it may be OK to give some leeway too, I'm not really sure, and I guess my feelings on this will change as DS gets older & goes through different stages. It's all about the kid & their reaction, I guess. And I have a hard time believing that Aunt Opal who sees the kid once a year is going to cause any real damage by guilting a kid into giving a kiss (in an otherwise safe setting), beyond that the kid just may start to hate Aunt Opal... Anyway, OP, I think you must be doing something right because it sounds like your DD did a great job of standing up for herself without you intervening. :) 


Erica was like that.  We finally had to make a rule that she had to give me a hug every morning in greeting.  Otherwise, I was only touching her to brush her hair or to help get her dressed, etc.  That's not good either.  But one quick hug of parents is totally different than requiring hugs of people outside of the immediate family or of (to the child) strangers.  And as she grew older, even that rule fell by the wayside.


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#16 of 29 Old 01-11-2011, 02:39 PM
 
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  Otherwise, I was only touching her to brush her hair or to help get her dressed, etc.  That's not good either.  



Just curious, how is that not good either?


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#17 of 29 Old 01-11-2011, 08:49 PM
 
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Wow! I love all the thoughts/opinions that have been shared! Something similar came up with my one year old ds... Grandpa (my FIL) picked him up then, when ds obviously didn't want to be held, I immediately stepped over and took him out of his arms because it was obvious that FIL thought it best to simply override his crying til he "got over it." afterwards FIL made a comment like "he already knows he is the center of the universe...." to which I replied sincerely, yet with a smile on my face) "you really want to go there?" he didn't:) but I do find it to be a common theme- others expressing that we as parents should force children to ignore there discomfort with another adult to make that adult happy. Whether it be in the form of affection, answering questions, etc. The message being we are bullies! Big people like to make little people do things! It's an obsession with control and I detest it!
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#18 of 29 Old 01-12-2011, 10:20 AM
 
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Wow! I love all the thoughts/opinions that have been shared! Something similar came up with my one year old ds... Grandpa (my FIL) picked him up then, when ds obviously didn't want to be held, I immediately stepped over and took him out of his arms because it was obvious that FIL thought it best to simply override his crying til he "got over it." afterwards FIL made a comment like "he already knows he is the center of the universe...." to which I replied sincerely, yet with a smile on my face) "you really want to go there?" he didn't:) but I do find it to be a common theme- others expressing that we as parents should force children to ignore there discomfort with another adult to make that adult happy. Whether it be in the form of affection, answering questions, etc. The message being we are bullies! Big people like to make little people do things! It's an obsession with control and I detest it!

YES!

 

It seems to me that some people view children as just being there for their entertainment, and have no regard to the fact that children are people and have feelings. Its only about what they want.
 

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#19 of 29 Old 01-12-2011, 04:41 PM
 
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I'm sorry for the confusion.  This was when Erica was 1 year old to about 3 years.  Touching, physical acts of affection and love are necessary for everyone but especially for infants and young children.  Erica quit nursing around 9 months.  She had always nursed at arms length and could only stand being cuddled for about 5 minutes from a very young age.  Like almost at birth.  Hated co-sleeping; didn't take to being carried until she could sit in the Gerry backpack around 6 months.  So by a year, I realized that the only touch she got was all impersonal--diaper changing, baths, changing clothes, basic care giving.  No cuddles, no hugs, no sitting in the lap for stories, etc.  No closeness at all.  A lot of it is her personality; we joke that she has a personal space that is 6' in diameter.  But, in retrospect, I'm glad we did have the hugging rule as she was later in her twenties diagnosed with bipolar, OCD, and social anxiety.  Giving and receiving hugs is something that most kids do naturally; Erica had to be taught.

 

This blog sums up what I learned years ago when raising Erica.  http://parentingtheatriskchild.blogspot.com/2006/10/importance-of-physical-and-verbal.html


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#20 of 29 Old 01-12-2011, 06:06 PM
 
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I'm sorry for the confusion.  This was when Erica was 1 year old to about 3 years.  Touching, physical acts of affection and love are necessary for everyone but especially for infants and young children.  Erica quit nursing around 9 months.  She had always nursed at arms length and could only stand being cuddled for about 5 minutes from a very young age.  Like almost at birth.  Hated co-sleeping; didn't take to being carried until she could sit in the Gerry backpack around 6 months.  So by a year, I realized that the only touch she got was all impersonal--diaper changing, baths, changing clothes, basic care giving.  No cuddles, no hugs, no sitting in the lap for stories, etc.  No closeness at all.  A lot of it is her personality; we joke that she has a personal space that is 6' in diameter.  But, in retrospect, I'm glad we did have the hugging rule as she was later in her twenties diagnosed with bipolar, OCD, and social anxiety.  Giving and receiving hugs is something that most kids do naturally; Erica had to be taught.

 

This blog sums up what I learned years ago when raising Erica.  http://parentingtheatriskchild.blogspot.com/2006/10/importance-of-physical-and-verbal.html


While contact is important, so is respecting boundaries, even for a 1 year old. I still don't really understand how making a rule about needing to hug mom in the morning is a good thing. Physical acts of affection and love are not necessary IMO, at least, not that necessary. This is from someone who has never been big on physical demonstrations of affection. And diaper changes, baths, etc are only impersonal if you make them impersonal. Basic care giving is one of many ways in which a parent and child can bond. Then again I don't really like the idea that parents should do certain things. Every child is different and thrives with different types of affection. It's like saying every parent has to read to their child, even if said child doesn't want to be read to, in order to get him/her to love reading.


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#21 of 29 Old 01-12-2011, 07:11 PM
 
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I'm sorry for the confusion.  This was when Erica was 1 year old to about 3 years.  Touching, physical acts of affection and love are necessary for everyone but especially for infants and young children.  Erica quit nursing around 9 months.  She had always nursed at arms length and could only stand being cuddled for about 5 minutes from a very young age.  Like almost at birth.  Hated co-sleeping; didn't take to being carried until she could sit in the Gerry backpack around 6 months.  So by a year, I realized that the only touch she got was all impersonal--diaper changing, baths, changing clothes, basic care giving.  No cuddles, no hugs, no sitting in the lap for stories, etc.  No closeness at all.  A lot of it is her personality; we joke that she has a personal space that is 6' in diameter.  But, in retrospect, I'm glad we did have the hugging rule as she was later in her twenties diagnosed with bipolar, OCD, and social anxiety.  Giving and receiving hugs is something that most kids do naturally; Erica had to be taught.

 

This blog sums up what I learned years ago when raising Erica.  http://parentingtheatriskchild.blogspot.com/2006/10/importance-of-physical-and-verbal.html


I understand completely.


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I'm sorry for the confusion.  This was when Erica was 1 year old to about 3 years.  Touching, physical acts of affection and love are necessary for everyone but especially for infants and young children.  Erica quit nursing around 9 months.  She had always nursed at arms length and could only stand being cuddled for about 5 minutes from a very young age.  Like almost at birth.  Hated co-sleeping; didn't take to being carried until she could sit in the Gerry backpack around 6 months.  So by a year, I realized that the only touch she got was all impersonal--diaper changing, baths, changing clothes, basic care giving.  No cuddles, no hugs, no sitting in the lap for stories, etc.  No closeness at all.  A lot of it is her personality; we joke that she has a personal space that is 6' in diameter.  But, in retrospect, I'm glad we did have the hugging rule as she was later in her twenties diagnosed with bipolar, OCD, and social anxiety.  Giving and receiving hugs is something that most kids do naturally; Erica had to be taught.

 

This blog sums up what I learned years ago when raising Erica.  http://parentingtheatriskchild.blogspot.com/2006/10/importance-of-physical-and-verbal.html


I understand completely.

me to. my son hated to be touched, snuggled, rocked from birth on. Since he was diagnosed with autism and has been in therapy he is willing now to hug and kiss me, but very few other people.
 

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#23 of 29 Old 01-12-2011, 09:05 PM
 
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Oh Chris- I hope it didn't sound like I was criticizing your implementing a healthy daily affection quota for your daughter! I sure didn't mean to imply that was in any way inappropriate! In fact it sounded like a wise solution. I was only referring to the example that I gave of my one year old son (as well as any other situation of that SAME nature).
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#24 of 29 Old 01-13-2011, 06:17 AM
 
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Giving and receiving hugs is something that most kids do naturally; Erica had to be taught.


Yes, that's exactly how I feel it is with my DS. He doesn't resist the hugs from close family members (at least not anymore -- he did resist up 'til about age 1 and at that point we didn't force it, just gave him time) but we simply have to show him how to hug/kiss, give him a little more encouragement than normal, physically help him start the motion...  If he hated that then I guess I'd stop but he doesn't hate it -- he LOVES giving/getting hugs (kisses only to me & DH) but has trouble figuring out how to do it. It doesn't come naturally at all but that doesn't mean he is totally opposed to it.


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#25 of 29 Old 01-13-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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So if your child from day one, preferred a propped bottle over the breast and cuddles, you would do it?  I'm not trying to pick a fight but that is exactly how Erica was.  If I had followed her wishes, she would have never been held or touched or hugged except for the barest impersonal touches of care giving.  And those were just tolerated.  When we saw that she was withdrawing emotionally from the family, we instituted the hugging rule.  The rule didn't last all that long and the hugs could be as short as she wanted.  And she didn't have to hug or show affection to anyone else.  Once we could see the change in her (and it was noticeable), the rule lapsed.  Erica was not "normal".  there was something different about her.  We just didn't know what it was until she was an adult.  Bipolar, to day, is very difficult to diagnosed in children.  And Erica was born in 1980.  Not only was bipolar not recognized in children then, there were no medications or therapies for children.


Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#26 of 29 Old 01-13-2011, 06:02 PM
 
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Choosingjoy, no apology needed.  Erica's childhood is hard to explain on a message board or even irl to people who don't know her.  The hugging rule was only for Erica, the others didn't have that rule.  In fact, if I was going to put quotas on hugs it would have been for Dylan because he was a very cuddly and huggy child.  So much so, that I got all hugged out way before he did.  You could say that I had one of both extremes.smile.gif


Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#27 of 29 Old 01-14-2011, 06:01 PM
 
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OP, you did a great job handling this one! I have been known to get pretty feisty when grown people try and coerce my DD into affection...it drives me NUTS! I don't even play around, I tell people "If you ask her if she'll give you a kiss goodbye and she says no, that means no and you'll just have to cool it" - sometimes certain people need reminders, but after a while even the most pushy for kisses, etc stands down and respects the space she needs. My DD sounds a lot like yours, too, she is so unapologetic it's not even funny. "NO! I don't want to! I'm not gunna!" (she's two and half, I don't know where she gets this!) She has a great sense of her own space and boundries and is never even slightly swayed by pushing and prodding for affection!

 

My son on the other hand.....like candy at a parade, the guy is throwing hugs and sloppy kisses like nothing!


Me and DH ...lovin' DD dust.gif(6/08) and DS kid.gif(11/09) Plus NEW BABY!! DD baby.gif (UC-5/12) We heartbeat.gif Water Birth/Homebirth/No Vax or Circ/BF/BW/Country Livin'! chicken3.gif

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#28 of 29 Old 01-16-2011, 12:54 PM
 
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oh this makes me so sad crunchy...my DH does this to our kids:(  drives me absolutely nuts, but i know he loves them and i don't want to dictate their relationship, etc.  but i will hate it if they feel the same when they are older...  i wonder if there is anything i can do about it.  **sigh**

 

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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

 

But then on the other hand I grew up with a father who required kisses. One on each cheek. We couldn't have/do something we wanted (open a gift, for ex.) without giving X number of kisses first. And now, even though I love my dad, I really hate showing him affection.

 

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#29 of 29 Old 01-22-2011, 01:33 PM
 
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There is a very very significant difference between trying to help a child who shows signs of not being comfortable with human physical interaction and trying to nurture more closeness... and allowing your children to develop their own sense of personal boundaries and a voice for speaking up and maintaining them.

 

If you have a child who doesn't show signs of an aversion to closeness, why would you ever make that child hug or kiss relatives (or anyone) who the child didn't want to hug or kiss?  And for kids who have aversions to closeness or seem to be overly averse to physical contact, yes as a parent you want to nurture that, but do you really want to do that by modeling for your child that relatives/friends who would try to guilt your child into that contact should be obeyed?  It is absolutely possible to nurture and develop in a child a greater comfort with appropriate physical closeness without teaching them that they should do things simply because it would make an adult/relative "sad" or "upset" if they didn't.

 

I don't see any way to look at someone who tries to tell your child how badly they'll feel and how sad they'll be if they don't get a hug and consider it healthy to make your child respond to that.  Not saying the relative who says that has bad intentions - it happens all the time and it's normal and common, definitely.  I have plenty of relatives who act that way, and I don't think they're mean or bad-intentioned for doing it.  But my response to them and dd is always the same: "DD needs to develop her own sense of boundaries and I let her choose when she wants to hug and when she doesn't.  So if she says no, it's no, and please don't try to guilt her into it."

 

Especially for the purposes of avoiding sexual abuse, developing this sense in a child of having body boundaries and that it's not only ok but encouraged that you only do what you're comfortable with and you speak up if you're not, that is a huge reason to be very careful how much you model for your child that adults who insist on physical contact even if the child isn't comfortable with it should still be hugged/kissed/sit on their laps.  I know most parents who do say "Oh go on, give Aunt Sally a hug!  Sit on Cousin Anna's lap!  Uncle Rob says he wants a kiss on the cheek, go kiss him!" do so in total innocence and don't think they're teaching their child something that could potentially hurt them later, but as subtle and harmless as it seems, it can be a harmful lesson.

 

Making dd hug Aunt Sally (and other adults) when dd isn't comfy with it can have negative consequences later when dd and other children are trying to find their voice about other uncomfortable situations.  I've seen several studies where child molesters were interviewed about what they looked for in potential victims, and they say again and again that if the child seems not comfy talking about things that make them uncomfortable or they've been taught that if an adult asks a child for something the child should usually do it... those are characteristics that make it more likely the child wont tell if something bad and confusing happens to them - because they won't know how to tell or feel like they don't have a right to say no.

 

Please understand: I am NOT saying that relatives who use "I'll be so sad if you don't hug me" language to try to get a child to hug them are abusers or parents who make the kid hug the relative are insuring their child will be abused later.  I'm just pointing out that developmentally it is actually VERY important for kids to learn that they do have the right to personal boundaries and they should have some say in when they hug and when they don't, and not be taught that adults who try to guilt them into things should be obeyed.  This is a whole different issue from kids who show signs of an aversion to closeness that a parent would naturally want to investigate and work on with the child.  But even that child still needs to be taught how to speak up in situations they're not comfortable in, even while being encouraged to open up a bit and find more comfort in physical closeness.

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