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Viral Meme About Children And Consent

Rockinruby

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What do you think about this? I often have parents asking their children to give us a high five or hug when I'm volunteering. In general, I then tell the child that my therapy dog would like the hug by or they can shake their paw goodbye. This was kind of interesting so I'm wondering what others think about it. :wavey:

Controversial Viral Meme About Children And Consent

This controversial meme has gone viral for its important message about children and consent

http://www.boredpanda.com/viral-meme-about-kids-and-consent-is-causing-a-lot-of-controversy/
Telling your child to hug or kiss a family friend or relative might seem like an innocent thing to do, but as this controversial meme points out, it could actually be giving your kids a dangerous message about the rules of consent.
“I am 5,” reads the meme’s message. “My body is my body. Don’t force me to kiss or hug.” It was posted on A Might Girl’s Facebook page alongside excerpts from an article titled “I don’t own my child’s body,” written by CNN writer and producer Katia Hetter. In it she argues that encouraging children to submit to unwanted affection is actually teaching them that their bodies do not belong to them, and that forcing them to touch people they don’t want to could actually leave them vulnerable to sexual abusers. The post has since been liked more than 88k times and shared by over 162k people. It’s also started a dialogue on what parents should and shouldn’t be teaching their children. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
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sonnyjane

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I don't have kids, but several friends of mine have shared that meme and subscribe to that philosophy. They said it mostly comes up with grandparents, and they do not force their kids to give hugs or kisses if they don't want to. I would say I'm inclined to agree. It's certainly not how I was raised. I remember vividly several times when I was little being forced to hug relatives I didn't know very well.
 

kenny

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Aw man!
I cam see both sides of this controversy.
But it's hard to argue against anything that might prevent even a single child molestation.

BTW, for the same reason, I think beauty pageants of children should be outlawed.

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VRBeauty

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I actually kind of agree with the poster - but I'll add this: in my experience, even young kids kind of know which "uncles" are a bit too interested and should be avoided, so teaching a child to trust their feelings and speak up is as important as teaching adults not to expect or force a hug.

And I'll go even further - it bothers me when I see kids being expected to smile and essentially put on a show for and adult with a camera - and yes, this includes their parents - so the adult can post it and entertain, re-assure, or whatever their friends. I do realize that there's a fine line between coaxing a child out of a bad mood and essentially asking them to deny their own feelings and smile even when they don't feel like it, but it's the latter I'm concerned about. Like forcing a child to hug someone they may not want to hug, forcing that act might make it harder for them to recognize and listen to their own feelings.

I'm also concerned about posting videos of kids who aren't in a position to understand or give consent, but I suppose that's really tilting at windmills....
 

yennyfire

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I agree completely, although I also agree that a kiss to grandma and grandpa is pretty harmless and there ARE times when doing the "right/nice" thing outweighs what we (child or adult) might prefer to do.

Along these same lines, it drives me crazy when parents post photos/blogs/FB posts about their kids doing things they shouldn't, funny adolescent antics, stuff about grades (good or bad). Several years ago, I read a blog from a Mom who's entire blog had been about her kids and their day to day escapades. One day, her oldest child told her that she hated being the subject of the blog because the kids at school sometimes heard about something she'd done (from their Mom) and it embarrassed her. That blog totally opened up my eyes. Now, I only post birthday photos/family photos a couple of times a year. If I post anything else about my kids or a photo, it's with their permission.
 

missy

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kenny|1481957028|4107879 said:
Aw man!
I cam see both sides of this controversy.
But it's hard to argue against anything that might prevent even a single child molestation.

BTW, for the same reason, I think beauty pageants of children should be outlawed.

Kenny I totally agree about beauty pageants and children. Wrong on so many levels and the judgment of a young child cannot be relied upon and I question the judgment of any parent who thinks they are a good idea.
 

Karl_K

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With close relatives I don't see the issue.
A high 5 is in a different class than a hug in my opinion.
Some parents tell their kids to hug relative strangers and that is just wrong.
I redirect it to a high 5 over a hug.
Makes both the kid and me more comfortable.
 

kenny

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Another reason to avoid kissing children ...
I suspect many if not most adults with oral herpes got infected as children via 'innocent' family kissing.

Christmas morning, when Auntie Mabel arrives, she isn't going to announce she has a cold sore in her mouth when greeting the kids at the door.
 

House Cat

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I have always set boundaries for my kids.

Would you like to be forced to kiss some weird old man that you didn't know or hardly knew? Why would you force your most beloved child to do so? How violating! Then, they are to somehow turn around and have healthy boundaries and know how to say no in their teens and adult life when their own parents forced people on them in their most formative years? What a mindf*ck.


No. Boundaries start at birth. You tell weird strangers not to touch your baby. You tell them to get out of your child's face when your child shrinks in their overpowering presence. You tell relatives that your child doesn't want a kiss. If the relative is offended, you let them deal with their own weird and wounded feelings. I have always prickled at the grown adult that gets offended by a small child who doesn't want their advances. Imagine that, an adult that is so fragile that they can't weather the horrid rejection from a three year old child!! Certainly someone such as this can keep a little distance from my children.

Children are human beings with rights to their own bodies and their own personal space.
 

rubybeth

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I'm not a parent but I work in a profession that involves kids and so does my husband. I think showing kids that they have bodily autonomy from a young age is SUPER important, and my husband I have discussed this meme as well as a blog post that a mom wrote about how she handles this. Also, it's so important to be teaching kids to trust their instincts about people, and that they can say "no" and have it mean "no." This is HUGE. Imagine if all young men and women were taught this. What would happen to rape culture? What would happen to child molesters?
 

momhappy

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I have mixed feelings about it. I like the concept, but I question the effectiveness.
 

lyra

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I wasn't raised to have to hug or kiss relatives or friends of the family. I never pushed that on my kids either. I think it was kind of a personal space issue for me, so I just felt that my kids would feel the same. I wouldn't insist on anything from my future grandchildren either. Just not me. It's something to think about though. I'm all for empowering kids to be resourceful and self-reliant. That should include having a say in physical boundaries too. I can't really think of a downside to this.
 

distracts

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I don't think this is controversial at all. Forcing kids (and, let's be real, mostly girls) to kiss and hug people when they aren't comfortable with it teaches them that it's not their boundaries that are important but other people's perceptions of their niceness, or whatever. This is exactly the same reason why a lot of people give in or don't realize they can say no even if they don't want something with forced sexual attention. You're literally teaching your kid to be a willing victim.

I wasn't a particularly huggy kid, and grew into a not-huggy adult, so this also resonates with me on a personal level because I just... don't really like physical contact beyond handshakes in general. I've gotten accustomed to hugging people because I have to but even as an adult I'm not keen on it. So I also think that some people just aren't as gung-ho about hugging and whatnot as others, and that's ok. I have friends who have cuddle parties because they're into physical contact as an expression of friendship but I'm just... not. And there's nothing wrong with me, or with them. As Kenny says... people vary.

Karl_K|1481986696|4107931 said:
With close relatives I don't see the issue.
A high 5 is in a different class than a hug in my opinion.
Some parents tell their kids to hug relative strangers and that is just wrong.
I redirect it to a high 5 over a hug.
Makes both the kid and me more comfortable.
Yeah, a high five or handshake is a different level of physical contact, and I think redirecting it to that is a great idea. Still an acknowledgement but not as intimate of one.
 

Rockinruby

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Wow! I've really found all of the responses very helpful so far. I always feel rather uncomfortable when a parent/grandparent pushes the child into hugging, etc. I remember always being made to go hug one of my uncles. I always tried to avoid him though. He was inappropriate to say the least. It still makes me nauseated to think of it. :angryfire:

Thanks to everyone for responding. :wavey:
 

House Cat

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distracts|1482027068|4108064 said:
I don't think this is controversial at all. Forcing kids (and, let's be real, mostly girls) to kiss and hug people when they aren't comfortable with it teaches them that it's not their boundaries that are important but other people's perceptions of their niceness, or whatever. This is exactly the same reason why a lot of people give in or don't realize they can say no even if they don't want something with forced sexual attention. You're literally teaching your kid to be a willing victim.

I wasn't a particularly huggy kid, and grew into a not-huggy adult, so this also resonates with me on a personal level because I just... don't really like physical contact beyond handshakes in general. I've gotten accustomed to hugging people because I have to but even as an adult I'm not keen on it. So I also think that some people just aren't as gung-ho about hugging and whatnot as others, and that's ok. I have friends who have cuddle parties because they're into physical contact as an expression of friendship but I'm just... not. And there's nothing wrong with me, or with them. As Kenny says... people vary.

Karl_K|1481986696|4107931 said:
With close relatives I don't see the issue.
A high 5 is in a different class than a hug in my opinion.
Some parents tell their kids to hug relative strangers and that is just wrong.
I redirect it to a high 5 over a hug.
Makes both the kid and me more comfortable.
Yeah, a high five or handshake is a different level of physical contact, and I think redirecting it to that is a great idea. Still an acknowledgement but not as intimate of one.
Willing victim...

Rape by coercion is real. My son taught me about it when he entered college and had to take a sexual assault course before they would allow him to enroll. This is where a person doesn't take no for an answer and wears the other person down until they say yes. Or they use threats or other means to get the person to SAY yes. See, technically, yes was said. The person doesn't feel they forced anything. They did.

This is where boundary setting becomes so important. Where a person can't say yes because they feel bad, or rude, or sick of it, or afraid of what others will think,

Rape by coercion wipes out the term "willing victim' and puts responsibility where it belongs. Unfortunately, we are in the dark ages with consent. This will take a while to teach the aggressors and those who need to protect themselves.


A cuddle party sounds creepy. :shock:
 

telephone89

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I don't see anything wrong with it (the meme), and have no idea how someone could argue against it. I was a shy kid and HATED being forced to hug/talk to/etc anyone. It didn't make me less shy. It just made me uncomfortable.
 

partgypsy

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To me, I think it depends. I think if it is a grandparent or great grandparent and your parents want you to greet this relative, and in that culture it is hugs, that is part of teaching your children manners. I remember kissing an old female relative who was in the hospital. I would have preferred not to do it (as a kid I thought real old people were creepy!) but I remember her face lighting up with pleasure, and being glad I did. It is really on a case to case basis. If a child does not want to hug someone and even if I don't understand why, I would not make them.
 
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