Children Have a Right Not to Kiss If They Don't Want To
As children grow, they learn to respect and establish limits. This includes emotional limits. It’s important for children to learn they have the right to not to kiss someone if they don’t want to.
In many cultures, kissing on the cheek is used as a way of greeting. Some parents therefore force their children to socialize under this rule.
For young children, kissing is associated with affection. They learn to kiss their parents as a spontaneous act of love. This is completely opposite for a stranger.
Before forcing a child to kiss a stranger or even a relative, it is wise to ask if he feels comfortable doing so.
Adults choose between greeting with a kiss or with a handshake. The same should apply for children.
Parents mistakenly believe that by refusing to kiss, their children are being rude. But there are other ways to show manners, even for little ones.
Shaking hands or patting the back are also accepted forms of greeting.
Not kissing is more than attitude
It is recommended that all parents have conversations with their children about love and manners.
Affection must be given as a spontaneous response to a feeling of love, whereas manners show respect for other people.
Even though a child should treat adults with respect, he isn’t obligated to be affectionate if he doesn’t want to.
Manners and affection shouldn’t necessarily coexist in equal parts. Minors shouldn’t be forced to give kisses or hugs without consent. This may be the way they set their limits with strangers.
Some specialists agree that the obligation to give kisses can make children vulnerable.
Most assume a complacent attitude regarding affection and manners. This attitude exposes the child to potential abuse or harassment.
In general, child abuse occurs with people close to the child. This may be a consequence of the minor’s complacency because he is “affectionate.” As they are forced to give affection, they cannot say no to physical contact.
Kisses and obedience
Obligation is also associated with the term obedience. In society, the concept of obedience is related to the child doing what his parents tell him to do, regardless of whether they are right or not.
Again, this situation brings the child to a state of submission or vulnerability. Before being taught to be obedient, children must learn to have their own standards and to learn to be selective.
Why should a child’s decision not to kiss be respected?
First, the child is taught that he owns his body. He’ll be able to decide when to establish physical contact and with whom, in addition to differentiating between affection and respect.
The decisions that the child makes about his body will make him less vulnerable to harassment.
This also applies to situations of bullying. Complacency can lead the child to accept ridicule in order to fit into a social group.
Teaching children to make their own decisions will give them greater self-esteem.
A child who develops his own standards becomes a confident adult. The role of the parents is to accompany them in this process.
Likewise, the child learns to respect an individual’s space. Not all adults react the same way to a child. Some feel intimidated by the presence of children.
Don’t force children to give kisses to strangers. It can free them from uncomfortable situations, such as rejection.
Another factor to consider for little ones is that of confusion. Children at younger ages are more impulsive, which can cause them to want to go kiss anyone. In this way, they are more exposed to situations of abuse or rejection.
Finally, it may be a health issue. Forcing children to kiss can expose them to viral infections or contact diseases.