I’ve just read an article about why children shouldn’t be forced to kiss relatives if they don’t want to. Now this is something I’ve always felt very strongly about. I hated being forced to kiss all those strange unknown relatives at weddings, Christmas, family get together type events. I used to dread getting slobbered on by people I hardly knew, and yet as a child it was considered rude to say no and it was something I and my siblings had to endure.
When I had my first child I started to think about how I wanted to teach him that it was always ok to say no and to do whatever seemed right to keep himself safe. One of those things was that I didn’t think he should have to kiss people he didn’t want to. As the first grandchild born I knew he was going to be very much loved, but I really didn’t want him to have to endure that whole slobbering thing that I remember hating, and those whiskers of the men who wanted a cuddle! Luckily for me, when I explained to my mum why I wanted to do this she was very understanding. I think a little bit of her was hurt to think that her grandson might actually say no he didn’t want a kiss or a cuddle at some stage, but she understood the desire to give him the power over who was allowed to do “something” to him. This included the emotional blackmail thing that you see some grandparents doing too… “Grandma/pa will cry if you don’t give her/him a kiss…” The last thing I want any child of mine doing is giving in to someone else’s demands because if they don’t they are made to feel bad.
This article made me think about the subject again, and I am proud to say my now nearly 18 year old boy is a very caring, loving, secure young man who knows what he wants and knows how to say no to keep himself safe. Thank you to my parents for being great grand parents and allowing their grandchildren the security of being able to say no and still feel loved.
The article can be found here: http://www.doingrightbyourkids.com/2011/12/12/no-forced-kisses-for-your-kids-a-holiday-safety-tip-for-families/