I’ve posted before about having the dreaded talk with my kids. Now, it hasn’t happened yet, but I know it’s coming. In preparation, I’m planning to talk about something just as important.
This is something we should be teaching our kids from a young age. My son (6) loves to hug people (actually, both of my kids do). I’m always reminding him that he needs to ask before he hugs somebody, and he always gives me the same answer: “But I just love hugging!”
We need to teach our sons and daughters that maybe some people don’t like hugs, and that we must always ask permission.
This is also something we need to discuss with all of our friends and family. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc, must know that permission is a must.
We have to let our kids know that it’s okay to not want to give grandma or grandpa a hug or kiss goodbye. When a child says no, they mean no. Some try to guilt (“Well, I made you dinner, so give me a kiss goodbye.”) All this does is reinforce the idea that our children “owe” you something.
This is a lesson that they will carry with them. Teach them now that just because somebody does something nice for you, you are not obligated to give them anything in return.
But how do you talk to young kids about this kind of thing? Personally, I don’t think it’s hard. How often do we tell our kids they need to ask permission for something (like taking a snack, or asking before you take somebody’s toy). This is the same thing! You ask permission before you touch another person, and no means no. Plain and simple.
I know it’s hard when you want to hug and kiss your child, but they don’t want to. Just remember, though, that this will help them build the confidence to say no, and have that response respected.