Do they really have to hug or kiss?

"Your first obligation as a parent is to not bring chaos into your kids lives" ~ Anonymous

It's that time of the year again! Woo! Hoo! And I apologise because this post should have gone out a lot earlier than now; but as the saying goes, "better late than never". So read on with me...

Christmas season just seems to bring out all the joy in me, right from the very first day in December when I can 'officially' play Christmas Carols without looking over my shoulder and hoping no one's listening. So these days when I have the radio on, I'm listening to Christmas Carols and singing my lungs out in that awesome voice of mine. 

Then come the plans we make. Oh, and the purchases and stress of getting gifts as we celebrate this really amazing season of God's perfect Gift who came that we might have eternal life. They all add up to make the season the more fabulous. 

This is also the time of the year when we have a lot of re-unions with families and friends and non-families and non-friends. So we spend of lot time visiting these people, and even meeting new people. And not forgetting that we also go to pay dear Ol' Santa or Father Christmas (as is popularly known here) a visit

I don't know if it's something you may have noticed, but I've seen quite a few 'funny' pictures of kids crying or yelling while refusing to 'sit on' Santa's laps, or 'meet' Santa. I usually wonder why adults do that to kids though despite the. I mean who wouldn't be scared seeing a face almost covered in long white beard? LOL. 

This brings me to the point of this post which is something I really need us to pay attention to. I think its about time we start teaching our kids about consent and setting boundaries around themselves or their bodies. When our kids meet family, friends or even strangers for the first time, we usually 'instruct' (for lack of a better word) them to hug or kiss strangers in a bid not to make them seem rude or unfriendly. This is very common, and not unconnected to our culture. Sometimes, we go a bit far by forcing them to do so, even when they are clearly not comfortable with it.
We see it as a sign of disrespect if kids don't 'warm up' to the people we introduce them to. I know this may sound weird or alien, but we need to understand that they should not be forced to do this.
Of course it is proper that we teach them to be respectful, greet people and be kind to them, but don't force hugs or emotional/physical displays of affection that they are not willing to give themselves without being asked if they would like to do so; and don't threaten to scold or spank them at home if they decline. Rather, encourage them to politely greet (according to our culture - kneel, curtsy, or prostrate if need be). And please, no sitting on Santa's lap if they also do not want to. It's all for fun, but if it does make them cry or uncomfortable, it defeats the purpose.

One thing this does for us is that it helps us lookout for sexual predators or people that may want to take advantage of our kids. Say for instance, the kids were once comfortable hugging a certain 'uncle' or 'aunty' but no longer feel comfortable doing so, or they get uncomfortable by the way a particular person hugs or touches them, it should raise a flag and get us to ask the child more questions or observe them some more. As we know these days that a lot of people that sexually abuse our kids are usually family that we know. 

Not forcing kids to hug or kiss (especially people who are not familiar) also helps them to understand that people should not touch their bodies without their consent or ask them for a hug or kiss just to please them. It helps them set boundaries and make choices around their bodies (with proper guidance from you), as they begin to understand what is appropriate or inappropriate touch. With this, they are able to inform their parents when they feel something inappropriate has happened.

Well, that brings me to the end for now. I hope to revisit this topic more extensively in the future. But for now...have fun and watch out lovingly for your kids this holiday. Shower them with all your love and hugs and kisses and a ton of affection! Oh, and watch the calories too, 'cause I'm already struggling right now! 🙈 😋 😄

Have fun, and remember that Jesus Christ is the reason we are celebrating!!!

The Baby Analyst.

Not a doctor, just a financial analyst who loves kids


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