At a typical family gathering, little kids like Toby and Anton would be scooped up and kissed and hugged and tickled. And that’s playful and wonderful (and usually they love it)—but what if a child doesn’t want to be? Last year I read an eye-opening post encouraging parents not to force a child to hug or kiss anybody. At first I thought it was over the top, but I’ve thought about it countless times since then. If your child doesn’t want to kiss every relative, that should be completely fine, right? They’re teeny, but they still have a choice. To be polite, they can always wave, shake hands or give high-fives instead. Caroline was telling me how she dreaded family gatherings as a child because of the barrage of slobbery kisses—I totally get that now!
These things seem small, but little things can make a big difference. I think it’s so important to show children that we respect their minds and bodies and to start teaching consent.
What do you think? I’d love to hear!