Author: Veronica Lichtenstein, LMHC
Nov 29, 2023
Hello fellow parents and holiday enthusiasts! As the holiday season approaches, a question arises: Should we insist that our children embrace everyone they encounter during family gatherings? It's a thoughtful choice to grant our little ones autonomy over their hugs.
Let's empower our children with the gift of choice, celebrate their individuality, and explore the richness of cultural diversity in our interactions with loved ones. Here's to a holiday season filled with warmth, respect, and heartfelt greetings! 🎉
Embracing Emotional Autonomy:
Imagine this scenario: Your child isn't in the mood for a hug. They simply aren't feeling it, and that's perfectly okay. Forcing them into an obligatory embrace not only creates awkwardness but also sends the message that their emotions don't matter. Each child's emotional journey is as unique as their fingerprint, a facet of their individuality we should cherish. It's time to bid farewell to the "hug at all costs" approach.
The Importance of Consent:
Teaching our children about consent is akin to providing them with a vital life skill. We want them to grasp that it's not just acceptable but essential to assertively say "no" when they're uncomfortable with physical contact. Importantly, it's not about evaluating whether Aunt Carol or Uncle Bob is likable; it's about instilling the understanding that personal boundaries deserve respect.
Prior to the grand family gathering, let's engage in thoughtful discussions with our children about alternative greetings. Encourage them to actively participate in choosing a greeting style that makes them feel comfortable, whether it's a simple handshake, a fist-bump, or another expression. Empower them to communicate their preference respectfully. "Hey, Aunt Carol, how about we high-five this time? It's going to be epic!"
Embracing Cultural Diversity:
During the holidays, our family gatherings often unite individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. It's a captivating tapestry of traditions, each with its own unique way of greeting.
Some cultures embrace warm hugs and affectionate cheek-kisses, symbolizing deep connection, while others prefer formal gestures like bows or nods, conveying decorum and respect for personal space.
This presents an invaluable opportunity for our children to learn about and respect cultural differences. By involving them in these discussions, we foster curiosity and open-mindedness, teaching them to appreciate the richness of diversity not only during the holidays but throughout their lives.
In essence, we can transform holiday greetings into a meaningful experience for our children. It's about honoring their emotions, granting them the power to choose, and fostering respect and thoughtfulness in their interactions. Additionally, we can explore the tapestry of cultural diversity, recognizing the beauty it brings to our holiday gatherings. With a blend of empathy and respect, we can ensure that every holiday greeting, whether through a hug or another gesture, carries the warmth of authenticity and connection.