Now There Are Calls for Consent Before Kids Receive Hugs and Kisses from Grandma
Kids own their bodies, and must give consent before hugs and kisses from Grandma. That's an argument from Scary Mommy:
Teaching children about consent is crucial, so why do some parents still insist their kids hug and kiss relatives even if they don’t want to? As consent and bodily autonomy become a bigger conversation, there are those speaking out about how we need to give children agency over their own bodies — even if it means turning down hugs from grandma and grandpa.
The piece shares this meme found on social media:
Author Valerie Williams expounds:
...how many of us grew up with our parents insisting we accept hugs and kisses from grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles with zero regard for our feelings on the subject? I remember being anxious at big family events as a kid knowing how many of our distant relatives would expect to touch me. I recall being nervous of how they smelled or how their beard stubble felt — and the persistent feeling that I simply didn’t want to be touched.
That’s why it’s so crucial that we recognize the validity of those instincts in even the youngest kids. They may not be able to articulate the reason for their discomfort with physical affection, but we need to honor it in order to make good on our lessons of consent. How can we tell our kids that their bodies are their own and then remove that very agency because Aunt Betty wants to give them a kiss? The lesson needs to be that it’s up to them every time — no exceptions.
Except it's not up to them. From where does this notion of a child's consent arise? A child's entire life proceeds without his consent, and often in direct contradiction to his expressed will. That's a defining aspect of childhood. Aside from physical characteristics, the ability to live by consent is the very thing which distinguishes adults from children. The whole point of parenting is to substitute the guardian's judgment for the child's, to override consent on a regular basis.