The Girls Scouts Remind Parents: Girls Don’t Owe Anyone a Hug, Not Even During the Holidays by Elisa Schmitz

Relationships Parenting
6 years ago

The Girls Scouts Remind Parents: Girls Don’t Owe Anyone a Hug, Not Even During the Holidays

As a former Girl Scout and Girl Scout leader, I think it's important to share this vital reminder from the Girl Scouts for parents this holiday season. With all of the family get-togethers this time of year, girls may get the wrong idea about consent and physical affection. That's because without even realizing it, many parents may insist that kids give uncles, aunts, cousins and the like, a big hug or kiss because they brought a gift, they're from out of town, etc. 

The Girls Scouts organization says "telling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasn’t seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she 'owes' another person any type of physical affection when they’ve bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice" as she grows older.

“The notion of consent may seem very grown-up and like something that doesn’t pertain to children, but the lessons girls learn when they’re young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to be respected last a lifetime, and can influence how she feels about herself and her body as she gets older," says Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald.

Not to mention, of course, that predators and pedophiles exist everywhere, even within families, so teaching kids about consent from an early age is vital. Communication with parents is key. So what's a parent to do? Let your child decide when she wants to offer affection.

"If your daughter is reticent, don’t force her," the Girl Scouts organization states. "There are many other ways to show appreciation, thankfulness and love that don’t require physical contact. Saying how much she’s missed someone or thank you with a smile, a high-five or even an air kiss are all ways she can express herself, and it’s important that she knows she gets to choose which feels most comfortable to her."

Read more on!

The Value of Girl Scouts Cookies: Why I Happily Pay $5 a Box to Make a Difference

Sexuality Discussions With Kids: Why It Needs to Be Honest, Open & Frequent!

Elisa Schmitz
Thank you to the Girl Scouts for this very important tip. We teach our kids so much (good and bad), even without realizing the effect our actions are having on them!
S Roberts
It’s sad how misconstrued this has gotten when this is something that’s needed to be addressed for a long time. Kids have the best barometers, let them decide who they feel comfortable hugging. And if you see a relative or close friend hug them and they look uncomfortable or scared, take notice.
Ann Marie Patitucci
This is so important! Good for the Girl Scouts for speaking out about this. Kimberly Johnson : Have you seen this?

join discussion

Please login to comment.

recommended tips

Parenting During Summer Break: 3 Reasons Kids Need Unstructured Play & Free Time

Don’t Define Me: Why Even Positive Labels May Affect Our Kids & Teens!

Hey, Mom! 6 Reasons to Put on a Bathing Suit & Get in the Water With the Kids

Want Politically Savvy Kids? Here's One Thing Parents Should Think About Doing at Home