As families travel to be near one another and catch up with their lives over the Thanksgiving Holiday, the Girl Scouts of America thinks it could be scarring the children if they are encouraged to hug relatives.
Amid sexual misconduct allegations of politicians, celebrities, and other high-profile figures, the Girl Scouts of American stated on their website the following justification for such an admonishment:
“Have you ever insisted, ‘Uncle just got here—go give him a big hug!’ or ‘Auntie gave you that nice toy, go give her a kiss,’ when you were worried your child might not offer affection on her own? If yes, you might want to reconsider the urge to do that in the future,” stated the PSA.
“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 have bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life,” reads the post on the Girl Scouts’ website.
Further down in the post, the Girl Scouts parenting expert and developmental psychologist, Dr. Andrea Bastiana Archibald, described how forcing young girls to give hugs could have long-term implications.
“The notion of consent may seem very grown-up and like something that doesn’t pertain to children, 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,” Archibald said.
The thread sparked over 17,000 comments and many opinions were split on the issue.