To hug or not?
  • KellynnKellynn
    Posts: 2,284Member
    This problem may seem a little trivial, but it seriously causes discord in our household, especially around the holidays.

    When arriving or leaving family events, most people in our families like to hug and kiss hello and good bye. I have no problem with this, but my son Z does. He does not like to hug/kiss people he doesn't really know and only sees a few times a year. It makes him uncomfortable.

    The problem is that my dh thinks he should just so he doesn't hurt anyone's feelings. I feel he shouldn't have to because he doesn't like it.

    Believe it or not, we have had some words over this. What do you think?
  • AKimiBAKimiB
    Posts: 1,809Member
    Whatever the kid is comfortable with! Honestly, I wouldn't feel comfortable hugging and kissing virtual strangers either.
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  • Chocoholic
    Posts: 2,013Member
    Children has just as much of a right to personal space and setting their own boundaries as anyone else. If your son isn't comfortable why should he be forced to do something like that?

    I'd say let him make the call.
    The answer is chocolate. I don't care what the question is.
  • momofdbbmomofdbb
    Posts: 10,900Member
    I go with what he ( the child ) is comfortabl with. DS 12 was never a huger and doesn't hug many people. So we don't push it. The in-laws pushed it but they aren't around anymore.
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  • deviltwinsmommadeviltwinsmomma
    Posts: 2,743Member
    My oldest has the same issue. She gives out handshakes and a smile to people. Yeah it seems like odd too a lot of my family because we are huggie type of family. But they coo over it because she is acting so polite and soo grown up.
    my mother used to sing me a song. It went like this: "Life is short, life is shit, and soon it will be over.
  • PurpleFlowersPurpleFlowers
    Posts: 6,043Member
    He should be able to decide himself. If you make him do it, its just gonna piss him off and make him uncomfortable.
    Stay away from my chocolate and nobody gets hurt!

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  • Katescrazymom
    Posts: 2,839Member
    I tell my dd that she has to be polite and say good bye, and I suggest that she gives people she knows a hug and/or kiss, but I never insist on physical contact. Or even eye contact, I told her if it makes her nervous to look at people's noses or mouths.
  • BellaBefanaBellaBefana
    Posts: 10,374Member
    I'm with you, he shouldn't have to hug/kiss people to whom he's not close.  There are ways for him to politely say goodbye without getting physical...have him hold out his hand for a handshake.  That's usually a good non-verbal cue to not invade someone's personal space.
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  • PrimalbitchPrimalbitch
    Posts: 1,259Member
    I was not at all huggy as a child. It made me very uncomfortable when forced. I live to hug now. But please don't force it on him.
  • KellynnKellynn
    Posts: 2,284Member
    We actually argued about it last year when he wanted to force Z to hug. He said his family would be offended. I said let them!
  • organicbabyorganicbaby
    Posts: 2,020Member
    I would not force him at all.
    Idea: make papers with the word kiss or hug on them. When someone asks for a kiss maybe your son can give them the paper and smile. It sounds silly but it may get your DH family in a good mood. You can explain to them that he is not really a hugger. It is just an idea which may or may not work depending on their sense of humor but it is all I got.
  • WillileeWillilee
    Posts: 1,621Member
    I'm not much of a hugger, and hate it when people I don't know we'll try to do it. If he doesn't like it, just make sure he's polite. How old is he? Could you just pick him up yourself and wait until the PDA is over?
  • momma2A
    Posts: 1,148Member
    I think kids have a right to what is comfortable to them. If they want to hug that's fine if they don't that's fine too.

    I know with DD sometimes doesn't want to kiss or hug people she see's almost everyday(or me) and that's fine.
  • KellynnKellynn
    Posts: 2,284Member
    @willilee, he is 8, so too big to do that.

    @organicbaby, good idea! I'll have to show that to him.
  • missmama5missmama5
    Posts: 6,874Member
    Personally I don't hug anyone. I hug my son and dh. I get uncomfortable hugging my own mother sometimes, and everyone else in the world is seriously off limits. No touchy. Totally creeps me out. I'd say don't force it. Might just make it worse.
  • BeachyBeachy
    Posts: 4,697Member

    Children has just as much of a right to personal space and setting their own boundaries as anyone else. If your son isn't comfortable why should he be forced to do something like that?

    I'd say let him make the call.

    This^^^ perfectly eloquent and concise as always! @chocoholic
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  • LadyKhanLadyKhan
    Posts: 109Member
    I was forced to hug and kiss as a child and hated it. It's uncomfortable and lots of folks wear cologne, etc that made me sneeze. He sounds old enough to just shake hands or smile and wave hello/goodbye.
  • AAA08
    Posts: 427Member
    @missmama5, I am exactly the same! I always was like this, and I agree.
  • LilyByTheSeaLilyByTheSea
    Posts: 129Member
    I was forced to hug my step-mother's family whenever we went to visit him... HATED IT!  Kids need to be able to say "No" without worrying about offending someone. 
  • DemandaDemanda
    Posts: 5,920Member

    I tell my dd that she has to be polite and say good bye, and I suggest that she gives people she knows a hug and/or kiss, but I never insist on physical contact. Or even eye contact, I told her if it makes her nervous to look at people's noses or mouths.

    This is exactly what I do with my son. I expect him to use his manners, but I won't force him to hug or kiss.

    "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." ~ Gloria SteinemPhotobucket
  • KellynnKellynn
    Posts: 2,284Member
    What is it with some people thinking it's perfectly ok to force kids? And see nothing wrong with it? My dh and his mom are both like that. Then my son is crying and have a mini fit because he doesn't want to, and it makes even more of a scene. Never again.
  • notperfectnotperfect
    Posts: 1,246Member
    Why would an adult want to hug a child if it makes them uncomfortable? Children should be able to set boundaries without feeling like they will hurt someone's feelings. What happens when an adult wants to do something more inappropriate, will they say yes just to be polite? Do you want your child molested because they were told it was wrong to say no to an adult who wants to invade their personal space? Sometimes kids need to be given power over their own bodies.

    I totally agree with the smile and handshake, it still acknowledges friendliness and respect. 
  • MarySunshineMarySunshine
    Posts: 7,953Member
    As someone who was a notorious "no kisser" kind of kid (and adult really) I know where your son is coming from. Not my cup of tea and you know what, everyone learned to expect me to give them my cheek for a kiss. LOL My mom even teased and asked if I let my BF kiss me! I can kiss DH and the beasties all day, but I am not a kiss on the cheek hello goodbye kind of person, and people can deal with it.

    I do give hugs like a mofo. I hear I give great hugs. Must be cuz I'm squishy.
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  • tothemoonandbacktothemoonandback
    Posts: 3,934Member
    I wouldn't force it.. sometimes if Jameson doesn't feel like hugs and kisses I'll ask him to give a high five.
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  • Justthemom
    Posts: 56Member
    My youngest doesnt like to hug and/or kiss too many people. His form of affection is a high five. And both of our families are huggers and kissers. They just accept a five from Gavin. They know the oldest and youngest kiddos you can hug and kiss on all you want, but the best you will get from Gav is a high five. He is 6 btw.
  • eappleeapple
    Posts: 1,997Member
    I am such a hugger, I think I give off that vibe because a client of mine hugged me after meeting me only a few times. However I would never force anyone to hug me, what's the point? it's not genuine. I would much rather a sweet smile or a nice little chat with your little guy than a hug that he is dreading and uncomfortable with. A real hugger knows it's not the act of hugging but the meaning behind it. If the meaning/sentiment isn't there then there is no point. I really like the hug and kiss card idea. The two of you could make it a fun little project and decorate them all christmas themed. I feel for your little guy, being forced or being expected to do something that intimate without his consent must make him feel very awkward. Good on you for sticking up for your little guy! Sometimes we have to be their voices when grown ups think they aren't entitled to feelings or their own opinions. Children have such real and very intense emotions and they need to be respected. How else will they learn to respect other people's if theirs aren't respected?
    And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. ~Nietzsche
  • SaraMommySaraMommy
    Posts: 878Member
    Your son should definitely have a say. What would be the point in making him hug someone if it didn't mean anything?! Obviously the person wanting the hug would see that he didn't want to hug them, so it's not like it would mean much to them either.
  • StarsStars
    Posts: 1,145Member
    When I was little I wasn't a huge fan of stranger contact.  At the age of 2 I had just met my grandmother and upon saying goodbye she wanted me to give her a kiss and hug ...well I bit my nana right on the cheek and drew blood.  She was so hurt. That I was told this story for years to come at every visit.  Even now I'm not a huge hugger fan.  I don't like to hug people I'm not close to it just feels odd to me.  I insist on being polite but never would make my kids do something that makes them uncomfortable.  They have their personal space and degrees of comfortability.  Who are we to ask them to disregard that?  

  • irishlassirishlass
    Posts: 7,057Member
    He is totally old enough for a handshake. I'm with you. I don't force affection from B. Some people bribe him for hugs, I'm a bit uncomfortable with that. If you wanna give the kid a treat then do, but he's not a performing dog.
    "Be who you are and say what you feel. Because those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter." - Dr. Seuss
  • KellynnKellynn
    Posts: 2,284Member
    All my dh sees is how lovey he is with us, and he is. He's very affectionate. But not with people he does not know well. He is clearly uncomfortable.
  • SammieSammie
    Posts: 8,345Administrator, Moderator
    I agree with @chocoholic. Children have the right to create their own boundaries. It is disrespectful to HIM to make him do something that he is obviously uncomfortable with. There are plenty of adults, a few even commented here, that are not comfortable with hugging/kissing extended family members, so why is it not okay for a child to have the same feelings? Nobody forces adults to show affection when they aren't ready or willing (and if they do, it is illegal), so why force kids to violate their own personal boundaries? 

    I think your approach is healthy. Let him make his own choices. It's not impolite to pass up a hug and just smile and say hello. You can practice dialogue with him, so he feels empowered to use his words versus being forced into contact he is uncomfortable with. You're doing the right thing, @cklw


  • MorganD
    Posts: 3,436Member
    I'd probably tell him to do that one-armed half-hug with everyone and tolerate a kiss if the relative persists. Really, though, I wouldn't push it too much. If they are that persistent with a kid that obviously doesn't want a hug/kiss, then they are just being rude.
  • 123
    Posts: 1,513Member
    I don't think he should have to touch anyone he doesnt want to touch
    dont mistake my kindness for weakness
  • ruseriouschild
    Posts: 47Member
    I too have always been a touch me not all my life. He shouldn't be forced into it. Be his voice & tell the family he isn't comfortable with that & ask them to respect his feelings. I wish an adult would of done that for me as a child!!
  • PJSaregreatPJSaregreat
    Posts: 356Member
    Don't force it...I just had a discussion about this about myself...I do not like to be touched, even just a touch on the arm, pat on the back, etc, especially by people I don't know, but even with people I do know. It sounds horrible, but there are days (not often) where I don't want my own kids too close. Everyone, regardless of age, should have their say whether to be touched or, in this case, hugged.
  • meandmy243meandmy243
    Posts: 9,474Member
    I don't force it... I'm not a huggy person it actually makes my skin crawl ill hug my so or my kids but everyone else back the fuck up!
    let them eat cake! because id rather have pie!!!
  • KrabbyKay
    Posts: 5,914Member
    I hate hugging and touching. I do with my family, but even my looongtime friends...ish. I have really huggy coworkers and they make fun of my "reluctant hugs"...I tell them be glad you got any kind at all! I must really like you! They know I hate touching or even having someone too close to me. 
    So I would say, let the person choose even if it's a kid, why should they not have a say about where their personal space is?
    I too wish someone would have stood up for me as a kid! 
  • undercoverbanana
    Posts: 12,609Member

    teach him this little trick---i used it a lot as a cocktail waitress. when someone lunges in for a hug, take a step back and put out your hand for a handshake. and just tell people "he's a chuck norris kind of guy". and don't make him hug or kiss anyone he doesn't want to. just have his back, mama.  there is no requirement to be grabbed and slobbered on to be polite, whether you are a kid or an adult.

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