Monday, May 26, 2014

No Means No

When my daughter was younger, she didn't often like to pass out hugs.  I used to try and work with her on being more open to giving hugs when leaving people. Then I read this blog post.

But there's more to appreciating a child's desire.  Sometimes children want to play alone but a friend wishes to join.  Telling the friend "no" doesn't make them terrible.  Maybe they just don't want to play right now.  Maybe they want to finish what they are doing in solitary play before involving another friend.  Don't force, no means no.

If we can't teach our children that it is okay for them to set personal boundaries, that we support those boundaries, and that we expect others to respect those boundaries then what are we setting them up for?  
But I Want... a hug, a goodbye kiss, etc.
Kids can poke and prod and test their limits.  There will be many times in early childhood years where students will badger and press other adults and peers.  Those are prime opportunities to teach developing minds to respect the boundaries of others.  It's okay to want those things but if the person you want those from is not open to that, why should we force our children to do it?  

This weekend we saw a burst on twitter with the hashtag #yesallwomen in response to the shootings that took place Friday.  We can begin a change with our youth.  It isn't simply about letting our children know that if they don't want to hug or play that that is okay, but also to the child not receiving the hug that it is okay.  Hugs and kisses aren't something to steal from your kids, we don't want to teach stealing physical affection from others.

It's about teaching respect for each other and for boundaries.  About teaching comfort and confidence in announcing your boundaries.  Regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, and more.


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