Is this a rather bizarre warning, which was recently issued by the Girl Scouts, or a sign of today’s world? With the holidays upon us, the Girl Scouts of the USA issued this warning to parents of daughters for the holidays. This warning was issued by the Girl Scouts via a public service announcement on their official website.
According to Fox News, that “odd warning” entails parents not forcing their young daughters to hug and kiss relatives they happen upon during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. While they are not advocating for the girls to be rude and back away, the Girl Scouts believe parents should offer their girls an alternative to the traditional hugs and kisses that are expected when greeting family members for a holiday.
Fox News suggests that while this “directive to withhold affection from one’s family may sound like an overreach,” the Girl Scouts do have an explanation for their “odd warning,” which is making national news today. On the website for the Girl Scouts, the warning is titled, “Reminder: She doesn’t owe anyone a hug. Not even at the holidays.”
There is a picture of a young girl sitting at a window with a rather concerned look on her face. So what is the meaning behind the Girl Scouts’ warning that urges parents to keep your girls away from unwanted hugs and kisses from relatives?
While the holidays are a time for the extended family to come together and share good food, drinks, and conversation, it can “also be a time when your daughter gets the wrong idea about consent and physical affection,” according to the Girl Scouts.
If your holiday parenting style while at a family gathering involves insisting that your daughter show affection to relatives, then the Girl Scouts urge you to rethink that strategy when it comes to your daughters. They suggest that by you telling your child they “owe” this relative a hug or a kiss just because they haven’t seen them in a while or because they come bearing gifts, then you may be sending your daughter a message. And it is a message that you may not intend to send. According to the Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald,
“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. Plus, sadly, we know that some adults prey on children, and teaching your daughter about consent early on can help her understand her rights, know when lines are being crossed, and when to go to you for help.”
The Girl Scouts suggest that you give your daughter the space to decide on her own how she wants to show affection to her relatives and to whom she wants to show that affection. While many kids will naturally gravitate towards the adult relatives with a kiss and a hug, the Girl Scouts are suggesting to not force your daughters to do this if they don’t want to.
To avoid the feelings of being rude, discussing alternative ways of show affection to her relatives would be the way to go, suggests the Girl Scouts. They suggest,
“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.”
Fox News suggests, “High five, Grandpa!”
[Featured Image by ambrozinio/Shutterstock]