Should we Force Affection on Kids?

Mar 20, 2024

So, you want your child to be polite and show affection. But forcing hugs can backfire, and here’s why:

First: Body Autonomy Kids deserve the same respect for their bodies. It teaches them bodily autonomy, a crucial life skill for healthy boundaries.
Second: Consent Forcing affection sends mixed messages. It should be about genuine connection, not obligation.
Third: Respect their comfort zones Some kids are naturally shy or overwhelmed in social situations. Forcing affection can create anxiety and make them dislike family gatherings.

Here are some healthy options instead:

  • Offer Alternatives: High Five, handshake or even a wave
  • Encourage greetings on their terms (let them “warm up” to people 
  • Focus on Quality Time: Plan family activities to create memories and build genuine bonds
  • Communicate: Talk to your child about their feelings and respect their “no” when it comes to physical touch

Sometimes, even with alternatives, kids might feel pressured or confused about their feelings.  

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