Girl Scouts: Urging parents to reconsider forcing hugs and kisses this holiday season

As we head into the holiday season the Girl Scouts are pushing out a new message to parents urging them to reconsider forcing their kids to kiss or hug relatives. In an article titled, "Reminder: She Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Huge. Not Even At the Holidays" the organization is asking parents to give your child space to decide ‘when and how she wants to show affection.’

"You don’t want to force them to do any interactions involving contact,” said Sandra Malone the Director of Prevention and Training at Day One.

Day One is a local organization working to reduce the prevalence of sexual abuse and violence. Malone says she agrees with the message the Girl Scouts are putting out.

"If you feel that interactions are owed because of whatever, if there’s a gift or something involved somebody that wants to take advantage of a child could use that in a negative way,” said Malone.

Malone emphasizes it is really important to talk to your kids about this issue. She says if they’re comfortable hugging and kissing relatives it’s not a problem. Malone says that it becomes an issue when they are not comfortable and that type of interaction is forced.

"It’s just another opportunity to have a conversation about it,” said Malone.

This advice comes on the heels of what seems like a non-stop bombardment of national news stories about sexual assault and harassment.

The organization issued a statement reading in part, “…In light of recent news stories about sexual harassment, we are proud to provide girls’ parents and caregivers with age-appropriate guidance to use when discussing this sensitive matter."

The Girl Scouts message has gone viral with more than 7,000 shares on Facebook.

Here’s a link to the full article the Girl Scouts put out: http://www.girlscouts.org/en/raising-girls/happy-and-healthy/happy/what-is-consent.html