Girl Scouts to parents: Don't force your daughter to hug this holiday season

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Lansing, MI (WILX) As the nation is bombarded with one story after another of sexual misconduct, harassment and assault--- the Girl Scouts have a message for parents: your daughter doesn't owe anyone a hug, not even at the holidays.

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That's the title of a new lengthy essay on the Girl Scouts website this month--- under "Parenting Advice for Parents of Daughters".

In it, the non-profit points out that holidays and family get-togethers can be a time when your daughter gets the wrong idea about consent and physical affection.

They're asking parents to think of it like this: telling your child that she owes someone a hug just because they haven't seen them in awhile or gave them a gift can set the stage for her wondering if she owes another person some type of physical affection for something nice they did later in life.

“The notion of consent may seem very grown-up and like something that doesn’t pertain to children,” says Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, “but the lessons girls learn when they’re young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to be respected last a lifetime, and can influence how she feels about herself and her body as she gets older. Plus, sadly, we know that some adults prey on children, and teaching your daughter about consent early on can help her understand her rights, know when lines are being crossed, and when to go to you for help.”

The post goes on to say leave it up to your daughter on how she wants to show affection and don't force her to hug someone if she doesn't want to. It comes down to allowing her to express herself in whichever way feels most comfortable to her.

The essay, which got more than 7,000 shares and hundreds of comments on Facebook earlier this month has set off a fierce debate.
Some are accusing the Girl Scouts of being stupid and ridiculous, while others are applauding the organization for taking a stand on behalf of women who have survived sexual assault.

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