Forcing hugs isn’t necessary during the holidays


Photo by Sadman Sakib Rahman


Every holiday season, families get together and spend time doing what Hallmark commercials portray to be the picturesque norm.

This includes little kids being dragged from house to house, thrust into the arms of eager and, often distant, relatives.

Some kids obviously don’t mind this and physical affection from extended family members may not bother them. However, there are some who find it uncomfortable and may decide that they don’t want to hug a particular relative.

I’ve seen online posts with comments debating this, arguments that claim kids should be “forced” into hugging others or that it’s disrespectful to allow them to have a choice in the matter.

Frankly, it hits close to home. The notion that it’s somehow acceptable to make your children feel incredibly uncomfortable and potentially unsafe, all because you want them to satisfy Aunt Myrtle’s desires for a hug, are absolutely ridiculous.

I don’t think it’s outrageous to say that people, no matter what age they are, deserve some level of personal autonomy when it comes to decisions surrounding their own bodies – this should always be respected.

Give them a high five instead, talk to them like a human being, treat them with the same level of consideration that you would anyone else.

It may seem trivial and completely harmless, but there are always reasons for why someone doesn’t want to do something.

Sometimes, it merely comes down to discomfort surrounding physical touch and affection. If that’s the case, then they should be allowed to show their love in different ways that aren’t solely defined by a hug.

I was an incredibly shy child and I don’t recall my parents ever pushing me into the arms of a relative if I didn’t want to. I was never made to feel guilty or bribed to do so if I shook my head no and hid behind my mother’s legs: they just accepted it. They left that decision up to me and if I chose to do it, I did and that was that.

I also don’t understand why anyone would want to coerce an unhappy and unwilling kid into their arms if they didn’t choose to be there in the first place and the feeling wasn’t mutual.

Adults are adults and they should be able to handle the rejections of a child who may have their own reasoning for opting out of it.

If your sensitivities are so fragile that you can’t handle a kid who has seen you only one or two times out of the year not feeling eager to run up and hug you, then your priorities are skewed to begin with.

Children have just as much of a right as anyone else to make their own decisions regarding family and friends they feel comfortable enough giving or accepting hugs from.

Need I refer back to the Jerry Seinfeld/Kesha incident where she tried to embrace a fully grown man who repeatedly told her not to? The same logic applies here.
It is never okay to forcibly push past someone’s boundaries without their consent, regardless of who you are or how old you may be.

Don’t be a dick this holiday season. If a kid doesn’t want to give you a hug, don’t take it personally.

Give them a high five instead, talk to them like a human being, treat them with the same level of consideration that you would anyone else.

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