How to balance body boundaries with touchy-feely? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 10-20-2010, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
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We've raised DD (and now DS) very handsy/touchy/feely. We babywear, co-sleep, she sits/lounges on our laps, gives kisses freely, etc. This is so different than mainstream America! Within the past year, she's had friends comment that they don't like her hugging and I figure I should let them tell her and let her figure out body boundaries on her own- sorta the natural flow of relationships, right? But now I'm wondering if I should explain things out for her.

I posted this in this forum because I feel it's most appropriate here, as so much of our family as been influence by my hubby's N. African culture- they're very hands-on and lovey-dovey with their family and friends.

Has anyone ran into this problem and how did you handle it?

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#2 of 5 Old 10-26-2010, 12:12 AM
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Sorry, I haven't had this problem specifically, but I would say that if you are living in the US that your dd is likely to learn all this on her own. Maybe you could gently explain to her when someone isn't digging her affection that she some people like their space, but I wouldn't even put it in a cultural context, necessarily. She will figure out, I imagine, that some people are touchy-feely, and that others aren't. And eventually she may come to see that this tends to be cultural, but no need, I think, to teach it to her this way.

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#3 of 5 Old 10-26-2010, 09:45 PM
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I remember this was an issue with my older son when he got to be preschool age. He went to an in home daycare (in the US, with American kids, so I don't think it is totally a cultural issue) where cuddling and hugs and kisses between the kids were the norm. When he started playing with a different set of friends around age 4 it was a huge issue, with one girl (who was about his age) complaining that he was 'making out' with her, and it made her uncomfortable.

Anyway, I just framed it in terms of mutual respect. Hugs and kisses are great, but only if both parties are happy with them. If someone says no, that means no. Now my son reserves kisses for family and close friends who don't mind, and asks new friends if they're ok with hugs before hugging the first time. He's still friends with the 'make out' girl, but waves goodbye to her instead of hugging her.
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#4 of 5 Old 10-27-2010, 04:16 PM
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because of different standards within the same culture
and anyway between cultures,
PP' s approach is a very sensible one

it's worth mentionning things, with words
children can be made to feel "bad" because the ways they know to be is not quite the norm in a new circle .... better let them know in gentle terms about it rather than letting them facing a maybe more brutal awakening
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#5 of 5 Old 10-29-2010, 11:51 AM
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i don't know, i'm american and very affectionate toward my ds, just as you described, but he is not like this with anyone else besides dh and i, even dh less so. I guess some kids are more outgoing, but with my ds, i kind of have talked to him about touching or being touched by others,what is appropriate etc., but it has never been an issue and he is pretty reluctant to hug other people besides dh and myself and will only do so if asked to.

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