Girl Scouts Warn Parents Not to Make Daughters Hug Relatives

The holiday season is a time of family togetherness and loving celebration, but the Girl Scouts have issued a warning to parents about making their daughters feel forced to show affection to family members.

Expecting children to hug family members or friends simply because they haven't seen them recently, the Girl Scout organization explains, can be a detrimental seeded idea to children that they "owe" people physical affection.

This is especially problematic for young girls in today's social climate, they ascertain.

Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, a developmental psychologist with the Girl Scouts, says, "The notion of consent may seem very grown-up and like something that doesn't pertain to children, but the lessons girls learn when they're young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to be respected last a lifetime, and can influence how she feels about herself and her body as she gets older."

"Plus, sadly, we know that some adults prey on children, and teaching your daughter about consent early on can help her understand her rights, know when lines are being crossed, and when to go to you for help," she adds.

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The Girl Scouts are encouraging parents to allow their children to show affection to family members and friends at a time when they are good and ready, rather than making them feel forced, this way they can learn for themselves what levels of affection they are most comfortable with.