I was watching something I usually don’t, The Wendy Williams show, and there was this great topic. “Don’t force your kids to hug family members during the holidays, Girl Scouts advise”, however this is something I believe should stand all year round. I have two kids, a toddler and an infant, and it annoys me when people do the, “You don’t want to hug me?”, “I just want a kiss”, or try to hold my oldest while she’s crying as she’s reaching out for me. It’s apparent that family members already have this preconceived notion that because they’re family it’s okay for them to do the weird shit to our children we wouldn’t allow strangers to. Forced affection happens to be the number one thing on that list of weird shit we make okay for family but tell our kids don’t let strangers do.
My problem didn’t start with the forced affection because it’s deeper than that. It started with people overstepping and I’ll elaborate. Have you ever been around family, being asked questions about YOUR children, and they’re answering for you? Or you ever tell your child “No”, yet someone else is steady telling them yes as if you’re not sitting right there. These are the same people who will flip out the second you show their kid(s) any kind of authority though. So, why is it okay for them to be the authority to your children when you can’t say a word to theirs?
This is something I still haven’t found the answer for, but I sense it stems from control issues. There are people who must be in control of everything and everyone around them and it doesn’t matter how you or anyone else feels about it. Be mindful though they’re not this way with everyone so believe me when I say there’s a way to shut it down completely. All controllers are different, but if you never say anything, they’ll never stop. I have noticed that it does depend on the person and the way they feel things should be between them and the child which is why they don’t see an issue with anything that they do. A lot of grandparents, aunts, and uncles are the ones who overstep their boundaries – especially with my children. Sure, they’re family but your children aren’t their children so they do have to respect you when you tell them not to do something with your children.
My oldest will be 2-years-old soon and believe me I’ve had my fair share of, “Why didn’t I say anything? I’m her mother” moments. I’ve had too damn many to be quite honest. It’s said that children feel vibes and I truly believe that because there are some people my daughter doesn’t vibe with. She tolerates them but she’s not willing to be around them alone or too long, she cries when they talk to or try to touch her, and her overall vibe changes as soon as she sees them. I’m one of those people who get the hint which is why people who still press kids when they clearly see they’re upset and uncomfortable bother me so bad. If a child is always crying with me, I’m going to let that child be until they choose to lighten up to me. I feel that’s only the right way to deal with them. People don’t realize that no matter age there isn’t anyone willing to cooperate when they’re being forced to do something. Children who are nonverbal speak with their actions and some of them are clearly saying….
People have this mentality that they should be allowed to do things based off who they are to the child and that’s the biggest problem. When someone feels they have more power because of their age, who they are, and because they’ve “been a parent” for however many years, it makes it that much harder for you and your children. At least it has for me because I’ve went from asking to telling people to leave my daughter alone. That hasn’t worked so I’m ready to simply cut it to, “She doesn’t like you and I’m not understanding why that’s so hard for you to see, leave her alone”, and be done with it. If that doesn’t work, then they’ll never see my kids again and it’s that simple.
I can’t speak for every parent, so I’ll speak for me when saying this because I did think it was okay at first. I thought it was “just a phase” and “she’ll get over it”, but as I learned my child I realized it wasn’t getting any better with certain people. People have to respect boundaries even with children, but if everyone feels kids don’t know what they want, how can we trust they’ll be okay with others? Again, my oldest will be 2 soon and my youngest just turned 3 months, so in the eyes of most I don’t know anything since my kids are so young. But I know enough to know my children, their likes and dislikes, and who I am and am not comfortable with my children being around and I’m not and shouldn’t be afraid to voice that.
Let’s take this a step further and talk about pedophilia and the fact that some are in our own families. It doesn’t matter if they’re male or female because anyone can do it. So, imagine always forcing your child, “Give Uncle/Auntie a kiss they haven’t seen you in a while”, “Go hug your grandma/grandpa they said you never talk to them”, “Just stay the night with your cousin you’ll be fine”, you ever think to be on your child’s side and let their no stand? You ever stop to think when you see kids refrain from showing affection and being around people that it’s for a reason? I’m not saying someone is causing harm to your child but pay attention to the fact that they make your children uncomfortable. You don’t want to be the reason your child gets older and either lets people take advantage of them or they shut themselves out from the world completely.
This is something everyone should have a voice in because I see people tell others what to do with their kids all the time, but they sweep what they should speak on under the rug because it’s “not their business”. It wasn’t your business to overstep either, but you did so open your mouth when you see a child is uncomfortable. With some people no matter how much you voice your concerns nothing will change. They’ll give you every excuse in the book as to why you’re wrong for not making your child be around them – “This my family, I can do what I want”, “I wouldn’t do anything to hurt him/her”, “He/She not really crying”, etc. – but YOU KNOW YOUR CHILD BETTER THAN ANYBODY SO STOP LETTING IT SLIDE. I never want my children to feel like their mother doesn’t have their back. I never want my children to feel like I’m against them or forcing them to be around people when I clearly see they don’t want to be. I hate repeating myself but for my kids I’ll always speak up and if our boundaries can’t be respected, we’ll love you from a distance. My kids and their comfort come first not you feeling this right to make them uncomfortable because you’re family.
I’m not going to make my kids be around anyone they don’t want to be around, talk to anyone they don’t want to talk to, play with anyone they don’t want to play with or anything else, family or not. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you see or even feel your children are uncomfortable because you don’t want them to be afraid to speak up for themselves. People have to get over the fact that every child won’t be comfortable with them right away or at all, regardless of what they expected. Some are trying to make their wrongs with their kids right with someone else’s and that’s not okay because you can’t do what you want with someone else’s children. You raise(d) your kids how you’d like, but this is how I’ll raise mine.