Girl Scouts encourage parents not to force kids to hug relatives during holidays

ILLINOIS (KFVS) - In light of the sexual allegations sweeping our nation, Girl Scouts of America stresses the importance of setting boundaries. A popular post on social media has parents talking, it urges parents not to force kids to hug relatives during the holidays.

One mother, Britany Johnson, gives her child the choice to hug but calls it a pretty "iffy" subject.

"I mean if you want to hug your family, then go ahead," Johnson said. "But if you don't feel like it then I'm not going to force it...I mean it could cause some issues. But I don't believe anybody should force their kid hug anyone."

Lt. LaTosha Myers Mitchell, Head of the Victim Services Division for Hattiesburg Police Department, reminds parents to know their children's surroundings.

"Around the holiday times, it's going to be a lot of people in and out of your family, you may go to a lot of family gatherings, it's very important to know who you're with, know your environment, know who your children are going around and keep an eye on them. Don't get so caught up in the holiday festivities that you aren't being a parent."

Mayci Doerflein, a teen at the mall with her grandmother, explained how she was raised.

"My parents never really told me, I just always knew 'oh go hug them before you left' because you don't know when you are going to see them again," Doerflein said.

The Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois feel it's a subject we need to talk to our children about, saying:

"In light of recent news stories about sexual harassment, we are proud to provide girls' parents and caregivers with age-appropriate guidance to use when discussing this sensitive matter and other challenging topics, should they wish to do so."

Johnson concluded, "I don't believe you should skip out on the love, because that's a very important thing in life and that's a very important thing in family. And tomorrow is never promised, so I believe you should always hug your loved ones that you're very close with."

The Girl Scouts developmental psychologist said these lessons can influence how a girl feels about herself and her body as she gets older.

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