A Hug Is a Hug

I am a hugger.

I have always been a hugger.

I come from a long line of huggers.

For anyone who knows my Mom, she is the hugger of all huggers.

My daughter is a hugger.

Now I am sitting here doubting her affectionate nature.

And, this makes me mad.

I recently came across this article, “I don’t own my child’s body.” While I agree with many points it makes; I am also frustrated and angered by it.

As parents we are bombarded with information. The advice is abundant (helpful or not). Parenting in under a microscope. We continuously doubt our choices and ourselves. We are faced with many opposing sides of what the best and worst parenting practices are.

What did our parents do before the Internet? How did they manage to raise functioning, responsible, respectful, and strong children? I guess they did their best. They trusted their instincts. They did what they thought was best for their children. And there wasn’t a World Wide Web to tell them otherwise.

I completely agree with not forcing my daughter (who is four) to ever hug or touch someone when she does not want to. I don’t ever expect her to do anything that makes her feel uncomfortable.

That being said, I dislike how this article speaks to not encouraging our children to show affection to their grandparents, and to us…their parents. I grew up in an affectionate family. I hug and kiss my parents whenever I see them, and do the same when we say good-bye. Always have. Always will.

The first thing my daughter does when she sees both her Baba’s and her Papa is greet them with a giant bear hug and kiss. She hugs and kisses us regularly throughout the day. When I leave for a long day at school or before an exam, I ask her for one of her super hugs to get me through the day. My husband is a firefighter, and hugs and kisses before a shift are mandatory (though she is the first to run to him). If, God forbid, something were to happen to him, I want her last memory of him to be his strong, loving arms wrapped around her.

Is this wrong?

Am I a bad parent for encouraging a loving and caring home?

Am I supposed to tell her to be careful of people, whom she loves and adores?

I don’t think so.

But, according to this article they might be sexual predators.

Is this what raising children has become?

Not showing their parents and grandparent’s affection?

Showing affection opens her up to becoming a victim?

Here’s what I want my daughter to know.

She can trust me.

She can trust her dad.

She can trust her grandparents.

These are the people who raised me; who raised my husband.

I feel that it is much more important for her to feel safe and loved by us than anyone else in the world. If she feels this safety within her close family circle, she will know she can confide in us.

I want my daughter to know her feelings and body are her own.

I want her to learn to trust her instincts.

I want her to know I will respect her choices.

I will also teach her if she wants to hug or show affection to someone, she can. I will teach her that this does not mean she is asking to be someone’s victim. It is terrifying to me that as she gets older, and continues to show her loving nature, that she is asking for anything in return. Women do not ask to be victims. They are victimized, and a hug should be seen for what it is. A hug.

My husband and I will teach her that she does not need to look for validation from the opposite sex because we will do our very best to instill strong self-worth at home. We will teach her that her body is sacred, and she is never to do anything she doesn’t want. We will teach her that her family loves her and that she can trust us. We will teach her that if she’s scared, hurt, or angry, she has a safe place to fall; in our arms.

So, we will continue to do what we do.

We will love one another.

We will communicate with one another.

We will build trust.

We will spend time with our wonderful family.

And, most importantly, we will hug.

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