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Forcing a Child to Hug or Kiss an Adult Is Wrong, Even If It’s a Relative

Only 1 in 3 people are aware of what the term “consent” means, according to a study. And it is high time we start teaching our kids about it from an early age. Many parents have a habit of forcing their kids to kiss or hug a relative and even though it might seem like an innocent gesture, it really isn’t. Doing so has major psychological effects on your child.

We at Bright Side have put together some points that will help you decide for yourself why forcing a kid to show affection is a bad idea.

1. They start thinking it is okay for adults to touch them.

Children not only learn from their parents, but also their surroundings. When you let relatives they barely know hug them and give a kiss on their cheek every time they meet, they start normalizing the act. This is why it is of great importance to teach your child the difference between “good” and “bad” touch.

2. It makes them believe you don’t care about their comfort.

Showing your distant family affection at get-togethers or special occasions is very common, but keep in mind that your child is not used to it yet. In addition, if your kid is refusing to hug their aunt or uncle and you still force them, they will start thinking that you value the strangers comfort over their comfort.

3. It teaches them relatives can’t be abusers.

According to a report, in almost 70% of cases, kids are abused by their own family members. By forcing them to give and receive hugs and kisses from people they barely know, you are making your child believe that there is nothing wrong with forced affection and that relatives can never be abusers.

4. It confuses them — to trust a stranger or to not trust one.

One moment you tell your children to avoid talking to strangers and never take anything from them and the other, you ask them to kiss somebody they don’t know. Sure, relatives are family and not really strangers but kids don’t know any better. These acts confuse the child and leave them wondering if they should trust someone or not.

5. There might be a reason why they are resisting showing affection.

It is said that children have a better sense of differentiating the bad from the good. If your baby refuses to go into someone else’s arms and starts crying whenever they hold them, there might be a reason for this. For toddlers and kids, the reason could also be something that the relative said or did to them. Instead of forcing your children, wait until your guests leave and then ask them calmly why they didn’t want to hug their relative.

Do you agree that affection should not be forced? Did your parents ever ask you to kiss your relatives?

Illustrated by Polina Chernevina for Bright Side