Growing up, many of us were familiar with the awkward hugs we'd have to share with family members we didn't know very well (and the perfume of older relatives that would often rub off on us — ugh). But while showing respect for your elders is still a value that many parents instill in their children, so is body autonomy... and that might just bring the end of forced hugs for good.
If you're not convinced, keep reading. There's one mom following the gentle parenting movement on TikTok who has released an important PSA about why we should never make our kids hug anyone if they aren't comfortable and totally willing themselves.
WATCH VIDEO HERE
In the video, the woman acts out the part of a six year old, who doesn’t want to hug someone because her “body doesn’t feel right about it.” Her mom makes her, though — after all, does she want to hurt their guest’s feelings? Fast forward 10 years, and that same six year old is now a teenager and while she’s uncomfortable, she still gets close to a boy who’s pushing himself on her… because she doesn’t want to hurt his feelings.
See how easily a child not setting their own boundaries from a young age can backfire?
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"It took me years to put an end to this forced mindset," one user wrote.
It's scary to think of our kids ever being a situation like this one, and the video does make a good point about why it can be a good thing if they can clearly state that they don't want to hug their aunt or grandfather... and why we shouldn't push it.