IN THE NEWS: Give Grandma a Kiss!


Boy being kissed
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Is it okay to force our kids to give relatives a hug or kiss?

“Come on now – give Auntie Jane a kiss!”

These words and similar are told to our children daily, upon meeting, visiting or otherwise interacting with their various relatives or parents’ friends. What’s the big deal, right? Shouldn’t the kids should learn that it’s important to show how much you care about these people?

Apparently not.

A question of consent

A reminder by the Girl Scouts of America encourages parents to stop making their kids hug or kiss relatives or family friends agains their will. These days, the discussion about consent underscores the importance of children understanding that they’re not obliged to hug or kiss anyone if they’re feeling uncomfortable about doing so. From an early age, children need to be taught about the importance of personal agency, of owning their own bodies and their rights to decline any level of affection, regardless of who the person giving the affection may be.

I discussed this topic and my views on whether or not children should be forced to hug or kiss relatives or parents’ friends in an interview with Natasha Hall of CJAD 800. Here’s the full interview.


Remember “Family Ties” from the 80’s? It addressed this topic, with a teenage Mallory being the unwilling recipient of her uncle’s kisses:

What do you think? Do you agree with the Girl Scouts’ position, or is it more important to have kids show physical affection to adults who ask? Leave me y0ur thoughts in the comments section below.

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