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Old 09-26-2011, 06:28 PM   #21
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Re: "Bribing" for affection - too sensitive, or just let it go?

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a non-physically affectionate child's refusal to hug hurts an adults feelings, then the adult has a problem
Ok, but we established that generally, the child in question is physically affectionate.

I do think MIL needs to learn some boundaries, but I also think it's silly to pretend our feelings are entirely insulated from affect because they are children and we are not. Little Dude has been experimenting with "I hate you mommy". (He apparently also "hates" broccoli, ice cream and his own butt.) I know rationally he doesn't really have any idea what he's saying, but I won't lie and say it doesn't hurt.

Just saying. There's a lot of room between "needs to learn to accept his independence" and "needs to stop grooming him to be molested."

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Old 09-26-2011, 06:37 PM   #22
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I agree. We can't always control our feelings even when we know these things intellectually. And some people are better at letting things roll off them than others. Sounds like you and MIL are coming from different places on this (shocking I'm sure ). I would talk to her if I were you.
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:45 PM   #23
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Re: "Bribing" for affection - too sensitive, or just let it go?

this to a tee! I am so glad we enforced this rule with the grandparents! I will not let my kids be manipulated no matter who it hurts! They we mine and its my job to protect them and help them grow in an emotionally healthy way!


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I don't believe in forcing kids to show physical affection. I know I would not like to be FORCED to hug/kiss someone. How can we possibly teach kids their bodies are their own if we also force close physical contact?
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:35 PM   #24
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I will never make my child touch someone they don't want to, regardless of whose feelings it hurts. A grown adult has no right to demand physical affection from a child. I don't care if the kid is normally a cuddle bug. You can't teach a child that its there body and no one is allowed to touch them in ways they don't want and then add in "except if it's Grandma/Uncle Bob/someone who will feel sad if you don't let them".
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:02 PM   #25
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Re: "Bribing" for affection - too sensitive, or just let it go?

This board seems prone to a certain type of hysteria to me.

You're looking at a generational gap, for one thing. A different standard of expectations is to be expected. Anyway, I think that it's too easy to be lured into the groupthink of people who share one's own standards, and lose our understanding of other perspectives. For example, some people on this board insist their children use honorifics with all adults. To me, that sounds oppressive, authoritarian, and backwards. I'm sure that, conversely, they might think we are ill-mannered around here. I expect we both have good reasons for our choices.

A little understanding goes a long way in these situations.

For example, my MIL does not understand limits when it comes to the kid, and it makes me nuts. She's the steroetypical over-enthusiastic grandma who pinches cheeks and leaves lipstick marks. She call my son "her [name redacted]". I always think, no, he's mine, not yours. You already had one, and he's grown now. HOWEVER, I know that she is just so swept away with grandma-love that she has a hard time pulling back. So, when I think she's getting too far ahead of herself, I remind her that Little Dude loves her, but he needs a little space right now, and would she like to come look at some pictures he drew instead?
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:51 PM   #26
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We haven't run into this problem but a few times & I do admit I have forced my children to kiss my dad or sit on his lap. Only with him though. They love him dearly & want to talk to him all the time. Then when they see him (infrequently as we are a military family) they get a teeny bit scared. He is a very large former biker that resembles Hagrid from Harry Potter (except he shaves his head). After the forced bit of affection, they are again bonded & super close. I would never do it with anybody else though.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:11 AM   #27
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We have never made our kids give hugs/kisses if they didn't want to. It started as babies even. If they didn't want someone else to hold them, we didn't force that either. Now, they know the don't have too and we will back them up. If someone pulls the whole "I won't play with you." or "Boo hoo, now I'm crying" crap my kids are bound to shrug their shoulders and move on. It's the adult's problem that they can't accept boundaries. DH usually tells the more obnoxious of them that our kids don't fall for that kind of BS.
Once the kids are older and I can tell if it truly bugs them or not, then we don't step in if Grandpa grabs them for a hug/kiss. You know, grab and lift up for a big hug. The kids usually laugh. If they don't, and are really upset, we put a stop to it immediately.
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:42 PM   #28
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Re: "Bribing" for affection - too sensitive, or just let it go?

We've never forced DD hug, kiss, go with or be held by someone if she didn't want to. As adults, we have personal boundaries & make choices about those things and we're teaching DD to have them as well, even with family members.

If DD declines a hug or kiss with someone, we tell her "that's ok" and then we tell the person, "She's doesn't want to right now. Maybe she will want to later." She does it every now & then with grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins. No one has ever been offended or tried to bribe her and if they did, we would tell them that it's her body & her choice.

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Old 09-27-2011, 02:40 PM   #29
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Re: "Bribing" for affection - too sensitive, or just let it go?

I don't force my kids to show affection.

At the same time, I do encourage them.

I shake hands with strangers all the time - at the bank, at the doctor's office, etc - it's a matter of courtesy and respect. I also hug and kiss family members I don't like, or haven't seen in so long that they may as well be strangers.

I know I may get flamed, but I'm old school and I think grandparents SHOULD be hugged and kissed and shown love and affection (barring any unusual circumstances). I think elders should be respected and that includes giving the customary hello and goodbye hugs and kisses to family and close friends.

So, yes, I push my kids to do it, even if they don't want to.

As far as bribing, my mom did something similar - I don't think I'm too screwed up as an adult.

I wouldn't like the "not going to play with you" bit just because that is pushing it from bribery to manipulation and just being plain old mean - teaching kids if you don't get your way you can be mean.

Other than that, though, I don't see it being a big deal.
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:11 AM   #30
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Re: "Bribing" for affection - too sensitive, or just let it go?

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Originally Posted by Kiliki View Post
I don't force my kids to show affection.

At the same time, I do encourage them.

I shake hands with strangers all the time - at the bank, at the doctor's office, etc - it's a matter of courtesy and respect. I also hug and kiss family members I don't like, or haven't seen in so long that they may as well be strangers.

I know I may get flamed, but I'm old school and I think grandparents SHOULD be hugged and kissed and shown love and affection (barring any unusual circumstances). I think elders should be respected and that includes giving the customary hello and goodbye hugs and kisses to family and close friends.

So, yes, I push my kids to do it, even if they don't want to.

As far as bribing, my mom did something similar - I don't think I'm too screwed up as an adult.

I wouldn't like the "not going to play with you" bit just because that is pushing it from bribery to manipulation and just being plain old mean - teaching kids if you don't get your way you can be mean.
Other than that, though, I don't see it being a big deal.
Thanks, everyone, for chiming in.

I, too, was raised that it's good manners to greet people when you meet them, and bid them farewell when parting. For very close friends and family, that typically includes a hug or kiss. But I also remember feeling very seriously creeped out by a family friend at church who expected a hug, and some of the comments he would make, to the point that I tried to avoid him. I don't think he ever would have tried anything inappropriate, it just made me feel icky. I don't want my kids to ever experience that. Anyway, I'm not talking about Grandma comes over, and DS is rude and runs away, turns his back, refuses to greet her. I do expect him to greet Grandma - and he generally is very excited to do so - I'm talking about repeatedly during the visit, when they've been playing, she's been hugged/kissed hello, and DS is running around - she wants him to stop what he's doing and come sit in her lap, or give her a hug or kiss. He wants to keep playing, and she gets offended.

The bolded is my biggest issue. Manipulating someone to get your way is wrong, and I don't want my kids to think anybody can do that to them, family or not. If it happens again, I will try to gently speak to Grandma along those lines.
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