Today, I was reading a post on CNN called “I Don’t Own my Child’s Body” that struck a nerve.
In it, the author makes the argument that teaching your children that they have to dole out affection on demand is not doing them a very good service.
In fact, you might be planting the idea that your child should go against their instincts and give kisses or hugs because it is expected and will make the other person happy.
Which in turn, could make young children more vulnerable to future sexual abuse or in their teenage years, a girl might be more likely to simply say “yes” to sex with her boyfriend in order to please him.
In other words, you could be sending the message to your children that their body is not their own and what they do with their body is not solely their decision.
Of course, no parent would intentionally want to put any of these thoughts in their child’s head. But I began to realize that I am guilty of demanding affection all the time.
For myself, for her dad, for her grandparents, etc.
How many times have you begged your child to give you a hug before you walked out the door for work?
How many times have you begged your daughter to give her grandma a kiss when she arrived, even when she already told her no?
I don’t force my daughter to do anything but I definitely don’t let the issue go after my first attempt.
Just this morning, Poppy (her grandpa) stopped by for a special visit. On his way out, I asked Mazzy repeatedly to give him a kiss. She put her head down on the table, hair marring any view of her face, but I continued, undeterred.
“Come on, sweetie. You don’t see Poppy that often…”
“But he would be so happy if you gave him a kiss!”
She still didn’t do it and we didn’t force the issue further but now I’m thinking, I should have let her say no and just be done with it.
Mazzy does not have an issue with affection. A lot of the time, hugs and kisses come easy. But just as often, she may not be in the mood, which is understandable and should be okay.
It’s her choice whether she wants to kiss her grandfather.
And as much as it might hurt, it’s her choice whether she wants to kiss me too.