Don’t force kids to hug, Girl Scouts warn

(WMC) - Girl Scouts warned parents that children should not be forced to hug someone, for example relatives during the holidays.

"She doesn't owe anyone a hug, not even at the holidays," the Girl Scouts blog post read.

The warning comes as American culture is dealing with an upsurge is sexual assault allegations. Those allegations have brought the topic of consent into the public dialogue.

Girl Scouts said talking to children early in life about their authority over their own bodies and actions can be a great way to teach them how to set boundaries in their future.

"… (This)  can set the stage for her questioning whether she 'owes' another person any type of physical affection when they've bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life," the Girl Scouts' post read.

Katy Leech, a Mid-South counselor who works with young girls, calls the advice timely.

"It's a time for family, it's a time closeness, and so a lot of times you have these family members coming into town who maybe the kids haven't seen in a long time or don't really know and they are suddenly being hugged on, kissed on," Leech said.

Leech said the conversations with our children don't need to be complicated. She said the most important thing is to let kids know it's OK to trust their gut and draw boundaries if they are uncomfortable.

"You can draw your own boundaries. You don't just have to let anyone hug on you, kiss on you. And so that's going to prepare them for later in life when they have a dating relationship," Leech said.

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