You shouldn’t force your kids to hug anyone – even their grandmother. Kids, like adults, should be able to choose whether or not they feel comfortable giving people hugs and kisses. Of course, if they don’t want to, they could politely say no, not bite.
One six-year-old, though, really wanted to make a point after she was “cornered” by her grandmother who wanted a hug. When the grandmother couldn’t accept the lack of hug, the girl went right in and bit grandma’s nose.
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The girl’s mom, who is now feeling pressured by family members to make her daughter apologize, took to Reddit to get feedback about the situation.
“[My daughter] will refuse to hug or kiss anyone else if she doesn’t want to,” she wrote. “Both me and my husband are fine with this and don’t force her to if it makes her uncomfortable.”
The mother went on to explain that at the family gathering, her mother-in-law went around giving hugs and kisses to each child, though when she reached her daughter, she told her no. In response, the mother-in-law told her daughter that if she didn’t give her a hug, she wouldn’t get any candy.
The mother thought that was the end of it, but the grandmother continued to follow the girl around the house calling her a “terrible grandchild” for not giving her a hug. Eventually, the girl bit down on her grandmother’s nose – so much, in fact, that she was bleeding and the girl had blood in her mouth.
Since the incident, the family is split on what to do. Some of the extended family support the girl for not wanting to give her grandmother a hug, though they don’t agree with the violence, while others felt she should have just given her a hug.
The original poster asks for unbiased opinion about the situation – was she in the wrong for not making her daughter apologize?
Commenters widely supported the mother and her daughter’s actions, noting that no means no whether the unwanted attention is coming from a stranger or a relative.
“As it’s very common for people – not just older people – to think that it’s okay to force “affection” from children, the only thing I think you may have done wrong was not backing your daughter up in front of MIL: telling MIL that she’s not permitted to try to force affection from your child,” one commenter wrote in response. “On the other hand, you thought your child had already made it clear to MIL that she wasn’t interested in trading candy for hugs, and the whole stalking/harassing/forcible hugging thing was pretty egregious.”
“Your child followed her instinct. It doesn’t get better than that,” said another. “It’s our best guidance in life. It’s never a good idea to encourage kids to hug anyone unless they want to. Our body – our decision. Period.”
The mother provided an update, saying that her mother-in-law has since threatened to cut them off, though she noted her mother-in-law is slightly in debt.
“This works for me cause now I don’t have to convince my husband to cut her off cause she’s doing it herself,” she wrote.
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.
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