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Girl Scouts: Don't force daughters to hug family over holidays

22 November 2017

It says it could cause the child to question whether they "owe" a person some type of physical affection later in life.

The Girl Scouts national organization said on its website, "Reminder".

The advice has been met with a mixed reception after it was posted to the Girl Scouts Facebook page.

"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. "After years of this, it becomes hard to say no to those affections later because they are told they have to do what the other person wants", posted Jamie Cheek on Facebook.

The Girl Scouts have a history of taking on polarizing subjects regarding girls, women and gender identity. "They can't see each other on a constant basis", he said. The post gives other ways to show appreciation, thankfulness and love that don't require physical contact. It's not just the Girl Scouts encouraging this, though.

Crystal Frazier Psychologist UT Health Northeast
Crystal Frazier Psychologist UT Health Northeast

"When we talk about preventing sexual assault long-term in our community, a lot of early prevention work with, especially, younger kids has to do with bodily autonomy, that their body is their own, that no one has the right to touch it without consent, and they don't have the right to touch anybody else's without consent", said Kerri True-Funk, Associate Director of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault. "But the lessons girls learn when they're young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to be respected last a lifetime".

It discourages parents from pressuring their daughters to hug adults when they're not comfortable.

"I know that as an adult I have felt pressure in the past to hug people that maybe I didn't want to and so I think for the next generation we should go ahead and set those boundaries now so that maybe it will be different for her when she gets older", explained Willis.

The Girl Scouts suggest allowing your daughter to choose how to express her feelings, whether verbally or though physical affection such as hugs or high fives.

"The notion of consent may seem very grown-up and like something that doesn't pertain to children", Girl Scouts' developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald said in the group's article. Madeline Adam embraces mom Kris as she takes First Place overall victor in the Girl's 10-11 year old Division during a regional round of the Drive, Chip & Putt Championships on August 25, 2013 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Girl Scouts: Don't force daughters to hug family over holidays