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What are your rules when your kids don't want to hug, kiss, or talk to someone?

Posted by on Jun. 25, 2012 at 4:59 AM
  • 17 Replies

I Bribe My Kid So She'll Show Affection

Posted by Jeanne Sager on June 23, 2012 

group hug
Group hug!
I keep hearing about the day my kid will start witholding affection from friends, and it fills me with dread. I'd like to say "not my kid," but I'm already seeing the signs. Her grandmother calls, and she won't get on the phone. We visit my grandfather, and she doesn't want to go anywhere near him.

So I have opted to do the only thing I know will work. I bribe my kid to show affection.

Not all the time. For the most part, if she doesn't WANT to turn it on right this second, I give her a pass. As CNN's Katie Hetter said in an article about her daughter's cuddle strikes just this week, "I figure her body is actually hers, not mine."

I couldn't agree more. We spend all this time teaching our kids to avoid "bad touch," with words like "your body is your own." Forcing them into a hug or a kiss is confusing and sort of cruel.

Which is why I won't force her to make an old man feel loved with a hug or get on the phone to talk to her grandmother when she's really not in the mood. But I will throw in a little enticement to sweeten the deal. If she takes it, that's her choice, right?

I firmly believe that part of growing up is realizing that sometimes we do things we don't exactly "want" to do for someone else's pleasure. Not always, but sometimes ...

Any good relationship requires give and take. My husband goes to the farmers' market with on a Sunday (which he hates). I make him meatloaf for dinner even though I'm a vegetarian.

For kids, more often than not, all it takes to make someone else happy is a little of their time. My 90-something-year-old grandfather would be heartbroken to know that his great-granddaughter doesn't want to give him a hug. And so I ask. And then I offer a trip to the ice cream stand or a new magazine. I won't put up anything I wouldn't give her otherwise, but I do need to make it "worth" the sacrifice if she's going to bite.

If she doesn't bite, I drop it. There's only so much I can push. But that doesn't mean I won't try again another day.

I try because I want her to see the pleasure she can give other people by putting herself out just a little bit, but I want to balance it. I don't want her to feel tortured. The bribe -- or maybe I should just call it a reward -- is what eases it for her. She isn't "tortured" because she had the choice, and she gets something good out of it.

And so does the person on the other end. The grandmother who gets to hear her granddaughter's voice after a long, hard day at work. The old man who gets a kiss on his papery cheek.

Her body is her own, but that doesn't mean she can't learn to use it for good.

What are your rules when your kids don't want to hug, kiss, or talk to someone?

by on Jun. 25, 2012 at 4:59 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Boobah
by Nikki :) on Jun. 25, 2012 at 7:39 AM
I don't make her, but unfortunately dh's side of the family pushes it, hard. They get all bent out of shape and start making comments about how we don't come around often enough, blah. We would come around more if you'd respect us and our kids!
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chotovec82
by Bronze Member on Jun. 25, 2012 at 7:41 AM

Uhm... I allow my child to be an individual. IF they don't want to give affection; that's fine.  Kids are individuals and their body is theirs. I am not going to force them to be who they are not. Some people are just not loving. I wasn't loving and my mom expected for me to be affectionate. I don't know why people don't treat kids with respect. They are people too just small. 

KickButtMama
by Shannon on Jun. 25, 2012 at 7:42 AM
I DO NOT AGREE!! I would never bribe my kids for anything, but especially for making them go against their instincts. That being said, I have a son who likes his personal space. Always has. Instead of bribing him into giving grandparents a hug, I just talked with him about how they would feel if he didn't let them hug him in greeting. He never has to give a kiss if he doesnt want to.
awilliams77
by on Jun. 25, 2012 at 7:42 AM
1 mom liked this
When our children were younger, say preschooler age, we worked on making eye contact, responding verbally to a greeting or quesstion. We did NOT make them hug anyone, even family, but they were/are required to acknowledge others and show respect in general.
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bluerooffarm
by Gold Member on Jun. 25, 2012 at 7:47 AM

 Mine are never allowed to say anything hurtful or mean, but I never require them to hug or kiss.  They've all gone through a short stage where they wouldn't hug (usually were too busy ) and they came back around after a while.  When others started to push it though, my middle got a little mean and we had to put a stop to that.  He said things like, "I would if you didn't smell"  and "You're too fat to get my arms around."  Not nice!  But I think a bit of it was how he honestly felt.  Gramma uses a lot of perfume!!

Moma3boyz
by on Jun. 25, 2012 at 7:58 AM
We done this. We sat the older kids down and talked to them about how it made them feel and how it made others feel. We have a grandma that is 102. I do ask (not force) that they hug her simply because of her age and she gets so happy when they do.

Quoting KickButtMama:

I DO NOT AGREE!! I would never bribe my kids for anything, but especially for making them go against their instincts. That being said, I have a son who likes his personal space. Always has. Instead of bribing him into giving grandparents a hug, I just talked with him about how they would feel if he didn't let them hug him in greeting. He never has to give a kiss if he doesnt want to.
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usmom3
by BJ on Jun. 25, 2012 at 9:51 AM

 

I don't push them if it is a friend or extended family member, if it is me I just ask if they are sure or let them know that I really wanted the hug but if they insist on not doing it I will drop it & go on!
lil_mama06
by Debbie on Jun. 25, 2012 at 11:22 AM

They do as they are comfortable doing...We've had a problem with child molesters in the family, so if they don't want to hug anyone...Whoever doesn't get a hug has to deal... 

Bethsunshine
by Bronze Member on Jun. 25, 2012 at 11:46 AM
1 mom liked this

I don't believe children should be forced into hugging or touching anyone!!


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MBorati-Collins
by on Jun. 25, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Don't do it. She has to be polite, that's a rule, but kissing and hugging? Sometimes, kids know better than we do.
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