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Mum admits she won’t force her children to hug her

Claire Reid

Published 
| Last updated 

Mum admits she won’t force her children to hug her

Featured Image Credit: Alena Kratovich / Alamy Stock Photo

A mum has explained why she doesn’t force her kids to hug her - or anyone else.

While many of us may have memories of being ordered to give our relatives hugs and kisses when we were younger, mum Virginia Duan is determined that her kids won’t be pushed to do the same.

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Writing for Parents, Virginia explained that she wants her little ones to have control of their bodily autonomy and that it’s fine to say no to physical attention.

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She explains that while she was growing up, she ‘never had a sense’ that her body, emotions or mind were fully her own - but now she’s got her own kids, she wants to ‘break the cycle’ and teach them that ‘their bodies are their own and no one - not even me - can force them to have any physical contact they don't want’.

Virginia goes on to point out that she’s aware of the horrific statistics about adults sexually abusing children, which also serves as a motivation to teach her little ones that they have the right to choose and decide what they want to do with their bodies.

The mum says she never forces her kids to give hugs. Credit: Pexels/Anna Shvets
The mum says she never forces her kids to give hugs. Credit: Pexels/Anna Shvets

Her views are also backed up by Dr Steph Lee, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Paediatrics, who explained: “Learning how to say ‘no’ helps empower children to speak up when there is unwanted physical touch in any situation.”

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However, Virginia says that empowering her children to have bodily autonomy doesn’t mean she allows them to run wild and free - she points out that she explains to them why some necessary things, such as taking certain classes and having their inoculations, have to go ahead.

But the kids can choose what to wear or if they want to be hugged.

She continued: “When it comes to other choices like what to wear, I let them have their way.

The mum is teaching her children it's fine to say no to physical contact. Credit: Pexels/Ketut Subiyanto
The mum is teaching her children it's fine to say no to physical contact. Credit: Pexels/Ketut Subiyanto
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"If they want to go out in cold weather in just a t-shirt and shorts, they are welcome to experience the consequences of their actions.

“As for physical touch, my children know they absolutely have the last word. As soon as a kid says ‘no,’ I stop. I never force them to receive physical affection even if sometimes I’m sad about it.”

Psychologist Traci S. Williams told Parent that by giving your child the chance to make their own decisions can help prepare them for adulthood.

She said: “By allowing children to increasingly take control of their lives, we provide them with lessons in problem-solving and emotion regulation.”

Topics: Parenting

Claire Reid
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