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Girl Scouts warn parents about forcing kids to hug relatives for the holidays

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Ahead of the holiday season, Girl Scouts are asking parents to think twice before forcing your daughters to hug relatives at family gatherings.

In a blog post released this month titled "Reminder: She Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Hug. Not Even at the Holidays.", the Girl Scouts offer this advice:

Think of it this way, telling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasn’t seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she “owes” another person any type of physical affection when they’ve bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life.

The post has been posted and shared of Facebook nearly 7,000 times, with reaction from parents ranging from agreement to anger.

You can read some of those comments here:

The final paragraph of the post reads:

Give your girl the space to decide when and how she wants to show affection. Of course, many children may naturally want to hug and kiss family members, friends, and neighbors, and that’s lovely—but if your daughter is reticent, don’t force her. Of course, this doesn’t give her license to be rude! There are many other ways to show appreciation, thankfulness, and love that don’t require physical contact. Saying how much she’s missed someone or thank you with a smile, a high-five, or even an air kiss are all ways she can express herself, and it’s important that she knows she gets to choose which feels most comfortable to her.