- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Girl Scouts released a “reminder” Monday, telling parents to not force their daughters to hug people during the holiday season.

The organization posted a photo to its Twitter account saying, “Reminder: She doesn’t owe anyone a hug. Not even at the holidays” along with the caption “Forced affection + Not O.K. [clap emoji]”

The tweet linked to an article published in 2017 with the same name, telling parents that pressuring young girls to show affection to people they don’t know very well can warp their views of bodily consent down the road.

“Think of it this way, telling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasn’t seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she ‘owes’ another person any type of physical affection when they’ve bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life,” the article reads.

“The notion of consent may seem very grown-up and like something that doesn’t pertain to children,” says Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Girl Scouts‘ developmental psychologist, “but the lessons girls learn when they’re young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to be respected last a lifetime, and can influence how she feels about herself and her body as she gets older.

“Plus, sadly, we know that some adults prey on children, and teaching your daughter about consent early on can help her understand her rights, know when lines are being crossed, and when to go to you for help,” she added.

The article clarifies it isn’t trying to encouraging children to be rude and suggests alternative greetings like high-fives, waves and saying “hello” and thank you as an alternative to physical affection.

They also tell parents if their child wants to hug and kiss their relatives to allow it, but make sure it’s their choice.

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