Author Topic: Kids being forced to hug/kiss adult relatives  (Read 3450 times)

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CrochetFanatic

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Re: Kids being forced to hug/kiss adult relatives
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2013, 11:49:36 AM »
The 'high five' idea sounds great as well as playful.  :)  I would guess that the parents' 'look' and insisting is in response to a perceived challenge to their authority, or something. 

Tea Drinker

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Re: Kids being forced to hug/kiss adult relatives
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2013, 11:50:08 AM »
I know people whose reaction would be "hey, I'm not a huggy person"--if that's true of you, it has the advantage of moving the discussion from the parents possibly thinking you are undermining their parenting, to defending your own boundaries.

W.r.t. Scotcat's aunt, it's a shame that she didn't get a lot of hugs other than the ones she pushed on children, but if someone thinks an adult sibling, cousin, or in-law isn't getting enough hugs, they should offer to hug that relative themselves, not demand that the children do so. There are things that it's appropriate to tell a child to do that you aren't going to do yourself--the kid might need braces, and you probably don't need to practice your multiplication tables--but "hug my brother/sister/cousin" isn't one of them.
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mbbored

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Re: Kids being forced to hug/kiss adult relatives
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2013, 12:08:05 PM »
Weird. I posted and it disappeared.  :o

OP, no one should be forced to hug someone. I am a hugger, but I never force someone to hug me or to be hugged. I have some friends/relatives who prefer a handshake, and I'm fine with that. To force someone out of their comfort zone is very inconsiderate.

Weirdly mine disappeared too.

I agree that nobody, regardless of age, should be forced to be touched. Personally I'm a big fan of high fives from kids who are reluctant huggers. Who cares what their parents think? I'm more concerned with the child being comfortable.

Mikayla

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Re: Kids being forced to hug/kiss adult relatives
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2013, 12:46:18 PM »
My take is slightly different, and it's based on something aussie_chick mentioned in her OP:  "Once or twice after it's gone back and forth a few times i've said "it's ok, little bob doesn't have to" or "how about a high five instead" which they always do. But sometimes when i've done this, their parents give me a "look" or insist the kids do it.

To me, this sounds extreme, and it sounds uncomfortable.  So yes, I'm criticizing these parents.  It's not appropriate to "insist" on this. If an adult like aussie-chick isn't sure what to do, how on earth does this make those little kids feel?  The high-5 is a great idea, unless the kid is afraid to accept it.

I say someone needs to talk to the parents, not about their beliefs on hugging, but a better way to handle it in the moment.  And it should probably be the bf.  Maybe not every parent has to be included in this, but for those who carry it this far, this is not acceptable behavior, and it's not the kids' job to fix it.  It's not aussie-chick's, either.

NyaChan

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Re: Kids being forced to hug/kiss adult relatives
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2013, 02:11:52 PM »
I think for parents it can become an issue of obedience once the child refuses to do what they are told in company and they forget the context of what they are forcing their kid to do and how it might make the person involved feel.  I'd probably couple a "Oh that's okay," with a physical move away from their vicinity so that the parents have to actually address the issue of the child not listening rather than have me stand there while they engage in a battle of wills with the kid.

nuit93

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Re: Kids being forced to hug/kiss adult relatives
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2013, 03:12:04 PM »
I find it a bit disturbing when kids are forced to hug/kiss adult relatives.

Children need to know that bodily integrity is important, and that no matter how old they are, no one has the right to touch them without permission.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: Kids being forced to hug/kiss adult relatives
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2013, 03:16:57 PM »
My family does the whole hugs, kisses but after I caught a bad cold in summer after my granddad funeral I'm reconsidering the whole thing.

Brisvegasgal

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Re: Kids being forced to hug/kiss adult relatives
« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2013, 04:10:24 PM »
I'm also agree that a child shouldn't be forced to hus/kiss anyone. If the continues to be awkward perhaps you can ask your BF to speak to his relatives...unless you feel like you can speak to the Mum or Dad about it.

An alternative to hige 5's could be that you drop down to the child's level and say goodbye. No touching necessary.

GlassHalfFull

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Re: Kids being forced to hug/kiss adult relatives
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2013, 06:19:10 PM »
I agree with those who said that, if you sense the kid hanging back (or if you are), just respond with a high five, or a knuckle-punch (whatever that's called), or whatever.  No need to say anything about it, just jump in there with your  response and move on.

As an aside, I have very kind and well-meaning in-laws who also are all about facilitating family togetherness when their two sons (one is my DH) come into town.  One time they kept suggesting that my oldest son (I think five years old at the time) share a room for the night with his uncle, who is a good guy, but my son rarely sees and barely knows him (he lives across the country).  I responded a few times with "No, that won't be possible", and did eventually add a few other, and valid (but not the main) reasons why.  (Uncle is childless and likes to sleep, this child gets up a lot, it's not child's bed so he'll be restless, he'll be nervous, lots of bathroom visits, etc.)  Finally, upon repeated requests by the in-laws, I said, "Listen, I don't want DS to sleep with people to get to know them better.  Not a lesson I want him to learn."  Said lightheartedly.  That ended that suggestion for that child, and it never came up for either of our other two, either.  They were coming from a good place, I think envisioned a "sleep-over" type scenario, but geez.  I wanted to get to know my in-laws upon entering the family, but they never suggested that I sleep in a room with them to do so.  Sometimes I think people disregard that kids have feelings, too.

(BIL was thrilled to have the room to himself, BTW.  This was all MIL, with a hint of FIL.  The discussions were quite awkward while they lasted.)

aussie_chick

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Re: Kids being forced to hug/kiss adult relatives
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2013, 06:40:02 PM »

As an aside, I have very kind and well-meaning in-laws who also are all about facilitating family togetherness


TBH I think this is where my in-laws sit too. The longer I've been part of the family, the more different family members do this. Including my BF and his father. I think it's less about the kids (not ok) and more about me feeling part of the family, which is really nice. But I don't want these kids looking at me and thinking "oh crap, here's that woman I have to hug again".

I've said to my BF that the kids don't have to. I do it with a smile and he drops it immediately.

I'm a really huggy/kissy person but only when it's wanted and reciprocated. And when it comes to children, I'm more careful about it. I know I shouldn't see potential abuse around every corner, but I can't help but feel that kids need to know they have choices about physical contact.

I totally POD the previous poster who said the kids have to greet me in some way and say good bye because that's what etiquette requires. And I think that's where i'm at too. As long as i'm acknowledged politely or excitedly (as kids are prone to!) then i'm happy without all the hugs and kisses!

These 6 kids are all very different. 1 girl and 1 boy from one family can be quite physical. They know we're coming so when our car pulls up, they come running shouting our names. It's very cute. These 2 will often want a cuddle or to sit on our knee for a story. But at other times, they don't want to and to me that's ok. The boy has a bit of a fascination with me and often follows me around, wants to sit next to me at the dinner table - all this is very cute and very appropriate, and I'd hate to ruin that by forcing physical contact on them when to me, they're developing their own relationship with me.

2 boys from another family never kiss or cuddle me (or my BF) but they do acknowledge us, stand close to us, show us something they've made at school or a new game or toy they have. I may be over analysing this, but to me, that's where they're comfortable and happy, so I go with that.

I think what some people have posted is great. I shouldn't wait for the parents to do this routine, I should take the lead and get in first with a high five or something like that - which they all love and do over and over again!

I know this shouldn't be an issue - when we're talking about the rights of children. But I think what's prevented me from reacting how I normally would is that this family was a little stand-offish with me to start with (previous GFs of my BF haven't left the best impression) so I think this is their way of showing me, i'm "in" so to speak. And I haven't wanted to create waves or be seen as the "difficult" new girlfriend. But as many posters have written, there are ways I can respond to this without being rude or difficult.

Thanks to everyone for their input. I'm glad i'm not being ridiculous about this!

m2kbug

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Re: Kids being forced to hug/kiss adult relatives
« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2013, 07:16:17 PM »
I think you have all the right ideas.  I think it's better to be the cool auntie over the creepy one that hugs and kisses me all the time.  It's hard not to take it personally a little bit, but you understand.  I think it's pretty cool this display from the adults is part of making you fully inclusive...you've passed!!  The fact that the kids are really interested in showing you their stuff tells me you've hit the A list already, especially little bugs who show off their toys, since they may not really have the words or ability to really interact like the older ones. :)

RooRoo

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Re: Kids being forced to hug/kiss adult relatives
« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2013, 10:45:50 PM »
I was one of the kids that was made to hug people I didn't want to hug. When I'd ask why I had to hug Aunt CoatButtonInMyFace, the answer was "because she loves you." (The only reason I didn't want to hug her was because she hugged too hard, with no regard for where my face wound up. It was either painful, or smothering me, or both. Outside of that, I liked her!)

Yes, because she loved me, I had to let her do something uncomfortable with my body. I'm lucky I was never molested, because I was sure set up to be an easy victim... It was all part of being raised in Doormatland.  >:(
"Someday we must write a book of Etiquette for sensible people," said Mrs. Morland, "though apart from a few rules it really boils down to an educated mind and a kind heart." ~ Angela Thirkell, Never Too Late

johelenc1

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Re: Kids being forced to hug/kiss adult relatives
« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2013, 02:47:02 AM »
You may also want to turn it around and ask if YOU can give THEM a hug.  Or you could try getting down to their level (kneeling or whatever) and ask, "may I give you a hug or should we just fist-bump!?" 

I think if you greet the kids quickly before their parents can start hounding them you can put the greeting on your terms instead of having the parents force theirs.

Ravenish

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Re: Kids being forced to hug/kiss adult relatives
« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2013, 09:16:29 PM »
My niece isn't all that fussed on hugs and kisses with me, probably due to picking up on the cues that I'm just not a huge physical contact person combined with the fact that I'm a grownup and sometimes they can be a little scary. She'll quite happily sit on my lap with a story or watch TV next to me chattering away and patiently repeating herself when her uncle half tunes out and misses a pearl of wisdom :P

Still, it only takes one suggestion for me to get a wave with a great dollop of coyness. You could always do something like the "Up high, down low, too slow" thing and make it into a sort of greeting/game/routine that is a little silly but the kids love anyway, might even get it so that they start it off sometimes before their parents can get a word in edgewise (while they look on in awe of the adorableness of little kids playing that game)

Luci

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Re: Kids being forced to hug/kiss adult relatives
« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2013, 09:22:31 PM »
Look at the kid.
Give a BIG WINK and a smile.
Say, playfully, while laughing:
"Nooo, he'll get girl germs!"

I don't know what you would say to the girls, but at least half your problem would be solved.

Sorry, but I think that this is encouraging a germiphobe. Maybe "Cooties" would be acceptable. Not sure.

I just know I hate the whole "hug your aunt who isn't a hugger and you only see twice a year anyway and had no conversation with you" thing drives me nuts.

This 'high five" that others after you have mentioned may work - I will try that Christmas Eve at the family party!