The Girl Scouts of America are again telling parents not to force their kids to hug anyone over the holidays.
“Reminder: She doesn’t owe anyone a hug. Not even at the holidays,” the Girl Scouts said in a statement on Monday.
The organization says telling young girls they “owe” a hug to a relative or family friend can have unintended consequences later in life, giving them “the wrong idea about consent and physical affection.”
“Think of it this way, 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 for her later in life,” the statement added.
Over Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays, families often get together and children see relatives they might not see often or be close to. The Girl Scouts encourage letting the kids decide how they want to show affection.
“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,” the organization said.
The Girl Scouts made a similar statement in 2017 at the height of the #MeToo movement, “in light of recent news stories about sexual harassment.” Some argued hugging family members is about respect, not rape, and criticized the organization for helping raise “a generation of brats,” while others praised the message.
“Our daughters owe no one hugs, smiles or kisses and we should start teaching them this young,” actress Amber Tamblyn said.
— Girl Scouts (@girlscouts) November 25, 2019
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