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Author Topic: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)  (Read 5964 times)

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Offline Silky

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Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« on: January 10, 2014, 04:00:06 PM »
One for debate...

"A sex education chief has been criticised over warnings that forcing children to kiss relatives could be harmful and suggesting that encouraging a youngster to high-five or wave instead could help them avoid future sexual exploitation.
Lucy Emmerson, coordinator of the Sex Education Forum, said that children needed to learn "from age zero" about the importance of consent and that "their bodies are their own".
She advised parents to stop trying to persuade their offspring to kiss a granny or an elderly aunt as it could blur the boundaries of what is acceptable when it comes to physical contact."


Full story here:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10557665/Outcry-as-sex-education-chief-warns-forcing-children-to-kiss-relatives-could-be-harmful.html

Is this really a concern? Can children become confused about inappropriate contact because of giving gran a peck?

Silky x
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Offline SallyL

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2014, 05:34:02 PM »
What a load of rubbish.    Appropriate affection from a family member makes a child know they are loved and cared for.    The only time this is a problem and will cause a child not to know what is acceptable is when the boundaries are crossed.  Someone who is going to abuse a child will do that regardless of if they have kissed grandma.
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Offline Ms_wormwood

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2014, 06:51:49 PM »
Utter tosh! Children will never know when a kiss is approriate or not if they've nothing to compare it against. Mind you, saying that, when M started here at 3 they were very shocked that she kissed me on my mouth. Turns out we are not the prudish nation in Europe (when it comes to kids, changing rooms and saunas are normally filled with naked women wandering around.... The ones I go in at least, I suspect the gents have to cope with gents.)
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Offline Pearl

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2014, 09:35:42 PM »
I'll say up front that this is one where I heartily want to get out my soapbox, so I shall attempt to rein myself in.  I've read work from the person this article is quoting and her colleagues before, and I feel very bad for her and the way their position has been seriously misrepresented.  I also agree with her on many points. 

People get their backs up about reports saying kisses with granny leading to sexual exploitation when what it is really about is the idea of how and at what age to begin teaching the (very difficult and grown-up) concept of consent to children.  Many people leave it quite late simply because it is a tricky subject.  The point isn't that children shouldn't kiss granny.  That would be nuts.  The point is that when you have a child who seriously does not want to give a relative a kiss - for whatever reason (maybe a serious reason or maybe they're just being stroppy!) and is expressing that feeling, you shouldn't stand there and force them to do it because you've just given that child a solid real-life example that their own feelings on the matter of something quite personal do not matter and they should just give in and do what they are asked.  The idea of suggesting a high five or wave or something is just one idea of something to offer as an alternative in the moment should it happen - not something that should replace affection with grandmothers or other close relatives.

Perhaps a less volatile example that I have seen would be about a tickle fight with a young child.  I'll admit this is how I came across this and it is one that I have adopted.  My daughter is only two, but she is already getting the idea that it is her body, so it is her choice.  So when there is a tickle fight with anyone - me, her dad, her cousins etc - if she has had enough she is perfectly allowed to say "No more.  I don't want to be touched now."  I like this example better because it goes both ways - she is also learning that OTHERS have that same right.  So when someone else says they don't want to be touched, she has to stop. 

E is a bit funny about hugs sometimes - sometimes she just doesn't want to be touched except by someone she knows and trusts (some aunts and uncles okay, others less so - depends how often she sees them mostly).  She has a couple little friends that are very huggy and always want to hug and kiss her.  Sometimes she's okay with it, sometimes not.  I've seen group dynamics at the sure start centre where an uber-huggy girl went to hug and kiss another child who really didn't want it.  In order to not upset anyone, the mum of the second child told her son to hug the first child back.  He did what he was told, but clearly didn't like it.  I confess, that made me uncomfortable.  Of course, then my daughter embarrassed everyone by running up and saying "Stop!", getting between them, saying "No!" to the first child and then telling the boy "Your body, your choose" (yes, I actually have said that phrase to her, so yes, she says it too).  Honestly, my only problem with her actions was that she pushed the first child and knocked her over - we're still working on that one.
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Offline LCSS

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2014, 11:20:11 PM »
mmmm, all a bit OTT in my opinion.
A child being asked to kiss granny because granny has been kind to them or generous or whatever will not scar him/her for life, but help teach not to be selfish and self centred.  We're not talking about anything that is remotely sexual.

Offline Deborah43

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2014, 05:49:07 AM »
If a child does not want to be kissed or hugged by a family member then that should be respected.  We are all allowed our boundaries.

However, I think that immediate family should be the ones that offer physical and emotional responses that show love and affection so that a child learns what they do or do not want.  I kiss and hug my children all of the time, and I'm making the most of it now because when they become self-aware they will shy away for a while (maybe).  But to be honest, even now I hug my family (mum, dad, aunts, uncles) and kiss them when I see them.  If I didn't want to I wouldn't as I've had more than enough cues from school/college/tv/and now Internet to know what's appropriate and what is not.  And I loved my granny dearly and wish she was still here so that I could kiss her daily.  How awful to be told you shouldn't show love and affection for someone in your family.  I really do hate what we're becoming as a society.
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Offline LAK

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2014, 09:19:08 AM »
I think that if a child's life is hunky-dory then encouraging them to kiss Grandma when they don't want to is probably not going to do them any harm.  But for a child who has something more sinister going on then this is absolutely going to blur the lines between what is acceptable or not.  Children are unlikely to be able to distinguish the difference between parents telling them not to be so mean and go give grandma a kiss now and when sleazy uncle says be nice to me and give me a kiss.  For me if a child is happy to kiss Grandma then that's fine and if not then it shouldn't be forced.

I've always used the tickling scenario with my children.  I taught them to know that when they say stop they absolutely have the right to have the tickling stopped.  There are many, many sexual assaults (mostly minor) that happen every day to young people and adults, mostly women, and what we need to do from an early age is to empower our children so that they know they have a right not to be touched against their will.  For me this starts in the early years, so it's not really about not kissing grandma but more about not forcing children to have physical contact against their will because hopefully they can take this forward into their older childhood years and into adulthood.
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Offline Foggy

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2014, 11:05:13 AM »
Difficult really -- life is so full of conflicts and we just have to do our best to teach the kids how to examine and deal with these conflicts.

In principle I agree that a child ( or anyone for that matter) has the right to say when they can and cannot be touched ...... but, how do you dress a young child for school when they do not want to be touched?  I imagine finding themselves in the playground in PJ's would be just as traumatising ( I still get THAT dream!).

We tell them "if you do not want to be kissed you do not have to ---- but you MUST kiss Granny".

We tell them "not to accept gifts from strangers ---- but you MUST sit on that old man's knee at Christmas and have a present".

I have had to watch another parents child at school fall and hurt themselves and just stand by because I am afraid to offer help and comfort, until mum or dad arrives, in case it is deemed "inappropriate".

I know we must protect our kids and equip them to protect themselves, but I hate what this world is coming to.

Offline LAK

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2014, 11:27:18 AM »
I agree with you Foggy, children do need to be touched to be dressed, etc. I think the way to check if it's ok or not is to consider if the touching is necessary or if it is wanted.  So we have to change a child's nappy, grab them before they run onto the road and brush their teeth.  There is a definite reason for that kind of touching.

I would be pleased if you picked my child up when she had fallen but I wouldn't be so pleased if you randomly hugged her for no reason unless you were a friend of ours.  Then as long as the hug was appropriate and didn't make her feel uncomfortable that would be fine too.

It's soooo hard to advise our children because it's about having that gut feeling that something's not right and makes you feel uncomfortable.  We need to encourage children to recognise such feelings and know that they don't have to accept touching that makes them feel uncomfortable.  We can't do that if we're 'making' them kiss Grandma against their will.
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Offline Sqizzer

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2014, 02:09:56 PM »
This is a tricky one now in an ever changing world where you want to keep your kids innocent for as long as possible but protect them from the ever growing dangers that are out there and give them the tools to be able to do just that for a subject that is far to adult for them to understand.

I agree that the idea of 'forcing a child to kiss grandma could blur the lines and lead to sexual exploitation' is absolute rubbish! However, as Pearl explained, it was cherry-picked and misunderstood from a broader picture article that is actually very relevant today. What the world is coming to now is a very very sad place where you used to be able to trust that your children would be safe at day care, schools, churches, friends and most importantly family but the world HAS changed and there are far too many undesirables out there to remain naive about it.

I think, for me at least, the point that is being made is that children need to understand that no is a very weighted word that they too are allowed to use and will be honoured when they feel uncomfortable. That they are allowed to feel uncomfortable and say so without being forced to do whatever regardless. I think also to take it further we need to teach kids too that the lines 'don't tell anyone, don't tell your parents, don't tell mummy' are things that are very important NOT to keep secret. Keeping that open line of communication with them so that they constantly feel like they are heard and respected and and can talk about anything so we can deal with and teach them how to as the subjects come up

It's not nice and very sickening to think of all the things that could actually happen to my son in this new world and it is ever changing but very real

Scary stuff
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Offline WT4

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2014, 03:58:37 PM »
What the world is coming to now is a very very sad place where you used to be able to trust that your children would be safe at day care, schools, churches, friends and most importantly family but the world HAS changed and there are far too many undesirables out there to remain naive about it.

Do you really think it's changed?

I'm afraid I don't ... I think we (all of us) are more likely to be alert, more likely to be aware, less likely to convince ourselves we didn't see anything inappropriate.

As for convincing a child to kiss a relative (or not) ... it's also useful to explain to the relative that their insistence / behaviour is unwelcome.  Yes, I have done that ... yes, it is tough (I sleep at night) ... they are my children and I will back them everytime ... every single time.
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Offline Sqizzer

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2014, 11:58:13 PM »
What the world is coming to now is a very very sad place where you used to be able to trust that your children would be safe at day care, schools, churches, friends and most importantly family but the world HAS changed and there are far too many undesirables out there to remain naive about it.

Do you really think it's changed?

I'm afraid I don't ... I think we (all of us) are more likely to be alert, more likely to be aware, less likely to convince ourselves we didn't see anything inappropriate.

As for convincing a child to kiss a relative (or not) ... it's also useful to explain to the relative that their insistence / behaviour is unwelcome.  Yes, I have done that ... yes, it is tough (I sleep at night) ... they are my children and I will back them everytime ... every single time.

Do I think this is new and not been around before, no, but yes I really do think the world has changed. I agree, as you said, more likely to be alert, aware, and less naive, but still believe that its different out there from when we were kids. Innocence is lost earlier. Children seem to have reality and young adulthood thrown in their faces at a much younger age from all angles. We now have a generation of young adults who, for the most part, don't necessarily understand the severity of consequence as many parenting styles, schooling techniques and the law has changed (this is a very broad generalisation - not a personal accusation). The world is bigger with growing technology (jet setting kids and social media / internet in general). Access much, much easier. I don't think change is a bad thing at all and many many changes in the world have improved lives to be sure - this is not what I am saying...

With every bit of good change brings, there can be bad that comes with it too. Simple things like kids being outdoors and social have turned into social media preferences, school bullying into cyber bullying, peeping toms into cyber stalkers, and clever little IT hackers figuring out a way to pinpoint geographic origins of pictures off the internet like its online shopping. These are the things I'm talking about when it comes to change and adapting how we deal with it and teach our children to deal with it because its so much easier to access and remain anonymous. Allows people to be a little more blasé about doing something that's creepy because of its ease and anonymity... Allows them into our children's lives where we may not always be aware of it because of the format it's coming from or the innocence it's wrapped in

At least that's what I think for what it's worth
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Offline Ms_wormwood

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2014, 06:56:38 PM »
Yesterday on the bus M was telling me that a boy at school told her that she shouldn't kiss me on the mouth because kissing on the mouth means you are in love (boyfriend-girlfriend way). We had a discussion about who it is appropriate to kiss and where. She told be that friends just hug or kiss cheeks (we are in Europe, three kisses) but mouth is only for people you love. She also said that she would only kiss mummy or daddy or step-mother on lips, no-one else, not even her best friend, who she sometimes loves as much or more than me. At least until she is grown up!

Maybe I'm weird.... I've never seen a problem with a peck on the lips to my own daughter. But I know other people think it is weird.
And I've not really had the 'be aware of predators' talk with her so I was surprised at how she could distinguish in her own mind what was allowable and what wasn't. I think children do know what feels right and what feels wrong, but I was happy to see that she could draw lines herself and could articulate what she felt.
Part of the reason she was telling me though because it's just one more instance of when that child is wrong and she is right (like whether girls can play with Spiderman or not).
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Offline Silky

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2014, 08:20:32 PM »

Maybe I'm weird.... I've never seen a problem with a peck on the lips to my own daughter. But I know other people think it is weird.

Not me. I've always given my girls a peck on the lips (as I do / did my own mum or dad), although I'm finding one of them is changing as she gets older and prefers a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

Silky x
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Offline Sqizzer

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2014, 11:38:17 PM »
I wouldn't have even thought kissing my little boy on the lips was odd either
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Offline Ms_wormwood

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2014, 12:28:02 AM »
Must just be the Swiss then.
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Offline WT4

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2014, 10:42:56 AM »

Maybe I'm weird.... I've never seen a problem with a peck on the lips to my own daughter. But I know other people think it is weird.

Not me. I've always given my girls a peck on the lips (as I do / did my own mum or dad), although I'm finding one of them is changing as she gets older and prefers a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

Silky x

Must just be the Swiss then.

I think this stuff is inherited behaiour ... My family kiss on the lips (the eXs family don't).  I guess our children are a little confused ... but they seem to be adaptable .. and survive without trauma.

So, not just the Swiss.
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Offline LCSS

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Re: Don't Kiss Grandma!!! (Really??)
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2014, 10:59:46 PM »
I agree, it is inherited behaviour.  My family don't kiss on the lips and I don't tend to kiss mine on the lips.  Cheeks, forehead, nose, top of head, all fine.  I have on occasions kissed them on the lips, but more from inattention or them moving their heads at the last minute, and registered that it felt a bit strange to me (though not to them I don't think)!

 

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