Girl Scouts warn parents not to force hugs on children
24 November, 2017, 01:46 | Author: Brenda Erickson
Girl Scouts of the U.S. are warning parents to avoid making their daughters hug family members this holiday season, saying it could impact their interpretation of consent later on.
Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, a developmental psychologist at the Girl Scouts, said the notion of consent might appear to be a "very grown-up" topic, but how girls establish physical boundaries and the expectation that they be respected can impact how she sees herself into adulthood. Physical intimacy isn't the only way adults show love and gratitude to other adults, after all!
"In a big room with lots of people, a lot of kids are uncomfortable with people focusing on them", she said. "With our children more so that you want to trust everyone".
"Girl Scouts of the US offers advice to girls' parents/families (including those of current Girl Scouts) on how to talk to their daughters about issues in the larger world that they hear about or that directly affect them". Some users said it's an important conversation in light of the changing US culture on sexual misconduct.
Banks and her family said they understand the goal behind the Girl Scouts' message, but sometimes affection can be used as a source of healing.
The Girl Scout blog came out as some of the most powerful men in almost every major industry - from Hollywood to journalism to politics - are being publicly called out for sexual harassment and assault, The Washington Post reported.
While the holidays may mean hugs for many, the Girl Scouts organization is saying children should not be forced to show that type of affection.
KCAL's Jo Kwon spoke with some girl scouts and parents about the hoopla over hugging.
"The main message is children should be given a choice if they want to give a hug", said Susan Mathias, chief executive officer of Transitions, Lewisburg, which provides services to victims of sexual assault and other crimes. It's about teaching kids the importance of consent and empowering them to speak up for their own needs and desires, which are evergreen lessons.
With family get-togethers peaking around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, it's not uncommon for young children to be urged to hug relatives or show some other sign of physical affection.
Archibald also noted 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".
"As parents, we have to use common sense and also realize that it's never too early to start a conversation about good touch and bad touch", Taylor said. "Don't force me to kiss or hug". Feel free to drop a comment in this story post on our Facebook page.
"When it comes to love, hugs and affection - that should be freely given", Crisis Center executive director Lynn Darnell said.
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