During a time when issues like sexual harassment and lack of consent are more prevalent then ever, Girl Scouts shared important advice with parents.
Cover image credits: Facebook
With the emergence of several discussions about consent, we often tend to overlook the possibility that such issues could stem from one's childhood. Incidents that occur in a young girl's life can end up shaping her outlook in life when they become adults. Girls who know that their bodies belong to them and nobody else from the beginning retain the same viewpoint in adulthood. That's why it is all the more important to instill such a mentality from a young and impressionable age. Hoping to spread the word, the Girl Scouts of the USA took the opportunity of this year's Thanksgiving to remind parents of little girls that holiday hugs are not a necessity.
Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, the organization reminded parents that their daughter "doesn't owe anyone a hug. Not even at the holidays." They suggested how asking one's child to give everyone a hug during a holiday event could easily give them a wrong notion about "consent and physical affection" later in life. Although hugs are regarded as non-sexual in nature, the GSUSA's recommendation argues that it could easily set the stage for unexpected emotional consequences.
You would want your daughters to understand “Hey, my body belongs to me. It’s good manners to hug, but when someone wants to do something that I don’t want (like a hug), and they’re an older family member, I can say “No, thank you!” or find mommy/daddy.” The small lessons mean— Good Sis 'Objection Sustained' of BΔK (@ameriet123) 27 November 2019
"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," read the piece.
There are too many creepy family members doing unspeakable things to children, ESPECIALLY little girls. That is why this message is important. The fact that this has upset so many people speaks volumes!— isajck (@isa_jck) 28 November 2019
Urging parents to allow their daughters to be in charge of how and when they want to display their affection, they advised, "Give your girl the space to decide when and how she wants to show affection. Of course, many children may naturally want to hug and kiss family members, friends, and neighbors, and that's lovely — but if your daughter is reticent, consider letting her choose what to do." However, they also added a word of caution. "Of course, this doesn't give her license to be rude!"
Obviously, the post was met with a number of comments which were divided in nature. While some perceived the organizations' recommendation as an important lesson to shape their daughter's outlook in life, others simply brushed it off by accusing the Girl Scouts of making a huge deal about innocent family interaction. One user, Gurney Halleck wrote: Considering my parents put money in my 8 y/o’s college fund every month...yes, she owes them at least a hug on Thanksgiving. Side note. Stick to scouting & stop trying to ruin the fabric of American holidays with your woke trash. If you did, maybe your membership would grow.
I personally think having my kids hug Grandma and Grandpa is teaching them a good lesson on proper etiquette and how to show affection. My parents never asked me to hug anyone and now it’s difficult for me to feel comfortable showing affection. I see nothing wrong with this— Jenni Ricker (@jricker384) 27 November 2019
Agreeing to this view, Aaron T. Rudd expressed: Also, let’s not force children to sell cookies for your crooked enterprise. You want my kid to sell cookies, you pay them minimum wage or more. Nothing wrong with hugging a family member or friend. It’s not like we’re telling them to hug strangers, just loved ones. While ZeeTeeAy was determined not to pay heed to the advice. I will teach my daughter to be polite, not to be rude. The @girlscouts has gone full-on radical feminist. My 5yo will not be joining when she gets older, wrote the user. Another John Abshire explained: It's a hug by a loving relative, not a molestation. This is why there is a growing number of young egotistical narcissists.
Are you this stupid by nature or did you work really hard at it? pic.twitter.com/O5zCpKjZXO— Peter DiGaudio (@peter_digaudio) 27 November 2019
On the other hand, several parents agreed that the recommended suggestions should be practiced by every parent. Maggie Pfeiffer was of the view: It’s not about the types of affection. It’s that children should have bodily autonomy and be able to say whether they want to hug someone or not, no matter who it is. If it’s just a matter of reminding them, fine, but don’t force them to hug someone if they don’t want to. Appreciating the post, Maya Rodriguez Sorensen wrote: Thank you for saying this! Any LMFT, LCSW, psychologist, etc. would say the same thing. This should not be controversial in any way whatsoever. I tell my daughter right in front of my parents that she doesn't have to hug them if she doesn't want to. And they back me up.