We are probably a generation that was never taught anything about consent while growing up. Neither our school nor our parents taught us about consent, especially when it comes to giving consent about other stuff rather than being intimate in bed, like giving hugs.
Thankfully, times are changing, and more and more kids are being taught about consent and about the fact that their bodies are theirs, and that they have the right to say no.
The holiday season is underway, and just think about how many times you were forced as a child to hug or kiss someone when you didn’t want to? For example, your relative comes to your house, so you were told to hug them, even when you didn’t want to do it for whatever reason. Sure, one might think that young kids can’t possibly consent, but that’s false. Children are supposed to apply the learnings they’ve gained about consent when they’re young, and if your child says ‘No’ or looks like they don’t want to give a hug or a kiss, don’t force them to!
The problem is that we’re taught to be “polite”, so we teach our children the same. If you’re a woman, you’ve probably experienced this in your life. You don’t want to hurt someone’s ego, or put yourself in danger, so you just give them a hug or a kiss. Well, this is the same reason we should teach our children that even though they should be polite, they should not do things just because they’re told to, or out of fear. This kind of conditioning influences our children’s self-confidence, and it negates their bodily autonomy.
So, instead of forcing your children to interact with people they don’t want to, stick up for them, and tell the adults that they simply have to deal with not receiving a kiss or a hug from your child. It all starts at home.