Girl Scouts of America says hugs can send wrong message

As a Girl Scout Parent and Troop Leader, Nicole Radoumis teaches her girls to be independent and courageous, but the latest suggestion from the organization has her questioning the role of Girls Scouts at home. 

“To come from this negative perspective suggesting that girls not show affection to a family member I just thought that was overstepping the bounds of what Girl Scouts is all about,” she said. 

The re-posted blog from Girl Scouts of America’s psychologist titled, “She doesn’t owe anyone A Hug, Not even at the holidays,” suggests parents shouldn’t force their kids to hug or kiss a family member if they don’t want to. 

“For youth and children, in general, it’s just allowing them that space to decide,” Kenya Yarbrough, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, said. “Not forcing children or anyone for that matter to have physical contact with anyone.”

The article is getting a lot of buzz good and bad given the slew of Hollywood sexual harassment scandals. 

“Think of it this way” - it reads -  “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.”

“As they get older they are going to be put in a situation where they are going to be able to feel like they have the right to say no and it’s very important they don’t need to feel thankful for something with their bodies,” Micaela Flores, a Girl Scout parent, said.  

Other parents agreed that there are other ways for kids to show appreciation without affection. 

The blog post even suggests a high-five or blowing a kiss. 

“As long as they learn to express themselves appropriately and respectfully they need to understand their body is their own and something they have control over,” another Girl Scout parent said. 

But for Radoumis, showing affection between family is the best way to teach kids what’s appropriate and what’s not outside the home. 

“We are human beings, we need to engage with our family members, who are the safest people to engage with,” Radoumis said. 

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