In light of the upcoming holiday season, Girl Scouts released a powerful reminder about the meaning of consent for young girls, and it should be required reading for anyone who has a daughter. In the spot-on PSA — titled "Reminder: She Doesn't Owe Anyone a Hug. Not Even at the Holidays." — the nonprofit organization delved into the idea that insisting your daughter show a relative some sign of affection in return for a gift can actually have a negative psychological impact down the line.
"Have you ever insisted, 'Uncle just got here — go give him a big hug!' or 'Auntie gave you that nice toy, go give her a kiss' when you were worried your child might not offer affection on her own? If yes, you might want to reconsider the urge to do that in the future," the Girl Scouts' post read.
The reasoning for asking parents to cease doing so is quite clear: it may instill in your daughter the notion that she "owes" people physical affection in return for things, which could be problematic in the future. "Telling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasn't seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she 'owes' another person any type of physical affection when they've bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life," the PSA read.
The reminder also quoted Girl Scouts developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, who explained how though the concept of consent may seem like something that "doesn't pertain to children," the lessons a girl learn at a young age "last a lifetime and can influence how she feels about herself and her body as she gets older." Instead of forcing your child to hug or kiss a relative, Girl Scouts encouraged parents to "give your girl space to decide when and how she wants to show affection," which can translate to nonphysical methods like a smile or air kiss.