How Can I Explain to My 3-Year-Old That He Can’t Be As Affectionate As He Is With Strangers?

A mom writes in asking for advice about her 3-year-old son, whom she says is overly affectionate with strangers. She says her son will hug and kiss strangers — friends of the mom’s who come over to visit, for example — and this behavior makes his mom uncomfortable. The strangers, she says, will usually laugh, which she feels encourages him to do it more. She wants to explain to him that it is not okay to kiss strangers. Any advice?

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A member of the community asks:

“How can I explain to my 3-year-old that he can’t be affectionate with strangers?

Hey mamas. So I have a 3-year-old boy who’s very affectionate toward strangers (strangers to him). If I have company over, he will hug and kiss them, and I’m at a loss about what to do.

I’ll take him away from the situation, but the others will laugh so he’ll keep doing it for attention after that. Do you guys have any experience with this? How can I explain to him that he can’t kiss people he doesn’t know?”

– Mamas Uncut Community Member

Community Advice for This Mom Whose 3-Year-Old Is Very Affectionate with Strangers

To see what advice the Mamas Uncut Facebook community has for this mom in need, read the comments of the post embedded below.

Fan QuestionHow can I explain to my 3-year-old that he can't be affectionate with strangers?Hey mamas.. so I have a…

Posted by Mamas Uncut on Friday, May 1, 2020

Advice Summary: The Community Shares Tips and Experiences for This Mom Whose Affectionate Son Kisses and Hugs Strangers

How Can I Explain to My 3-Year-Old That He Can't Be As Affectionate As He Is With Strangers?

The community offered this mom in need a lot of great advice. Read some of their responses below.

“I remind my kids about personal space. It isn’t something they are going to quit all at once but if you remind them it will get better.”

“Tell him hugs and kisses are for family! And not all people can be trusted.”

“It’s crazy. My daughter used to run up to bums and hug them as a toddler. She’s 15 now and still loves bums. But there’s no hugs anymore lol. Your son has a loving heart. Gotta really teach him stranger danger. I did it by letting my daughter watch Law & Order SVU.”

“OMG my daughter did that too! It was so embarrassing. I eventually started telling her before we had company what the rules are!”

“Teach him stranger danger and kisses only for mummy and daddy.”

“Talk to them before people come over about the rules and remind them when they need it. It won’t stop all at once, but if you don’t get mad and make it a big thing, just gently redirect, they will stop doing it.”

“I tell my pre-k students that we save our kisses for our families. I’m ok with the hugs, but of course, I’m not a stranger to them.”

“I always just put my hand on my 2-yo’s shoulder to stop her from running at them and say “aht aht you need to ask them first” and she’ll gibberishly ask for a hug. If she tries to kiss them, I stick my hand in between her lips and their face and kinda back her up, if that makes sense. Tell her they’re yucky and not to kiss them lol.”

“My daughter is the same way. I judge how much to allow case by case. My toddler caught me by surprise one day in line at a store. She was saying hi to the 2 teenage girls in line behind us and suddenly turned around and hugged and kissed one of the girl’s legs! Thank goodness they thought it was adorable. I was kind of frozen in shock and didn’t react at all till after the fact lol. Just explained to her we can’t kiss things and people in public places.”

Do you have any advice for this mom? Leave a comment to help another mom out!

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