Holiday Hugs Under Fire From Girl Scouts

Holidays may be a time for family members to hug each other, but when it comes to kids hugging relatives, the Girl Scouts of America are urging parents not to force the issue.

The Girl Scouts published a blog post this week stating that forcing children to hug relatives and family friends during the holidays could cause confusion about consent for those children later.

The blog came from the national office, but Amy Mountain, spokeswoman for the Harrisburg-based Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, said, “We’re always trying to help girls find their voice and determine what makes them comfortable. If someone decides doing a fist bump or high five makes them more comfortable, we suggest the family support the girl in that.”

“The main message is children should be given a choice if they want to give a hug,” said Susan Mathias, chief executive officer of Transitions, Lewisburg, which provides services to victims of sexual assault and other crimes. “It’s empowering for girls — and boys — to learn its OK to say no, they don’t want to give a hug or a kiss.”

If a relative, especially one the child barely knows, insists on hugging or kissing the child, “I think it’s appropriate for the parent to nicely intervene if it’s not comfortable for the child,” Mathias said. (Read more from “Holiday Hugs Under Fire From Girl Scouts” HERE)

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