Dear Amy: Hope you can shed some light on this. Are there any rationale or logical reasoning behind some of these new parenting trends, particularly one that gives the little one essentially complete autonomy to make their own decisions?
It’s especially annoying to let your child choose whether or not they want to hug an immediate family member.
I don’t mean distant cousins or relatives who have never been seen or met only once. I’m not talking about complete strangers (who of course I would never expect someone to automatically consent to physical contact), but more like grandparents or aunts / uncles who are very present in a child’s life!
On the last two occasions I – a very close uncle – were refused a hug. That was the choice of a 3-year-old. This choice was reinforced by the parent.
I would be lying if I said it doesn’t hurt.
I don’t recall a time when I didn’t want to hug or kiss a close family member growing up, and as I grew up it was even more important as we gained the wisdom of how precious life is.
Nowadays, I’m not much interested in interpersonal interaction / contact given the current social climate, but for five to ten seconds of cuddling with my nephew, all the problems in the world seem to disappear.
How will this type of parenting affect older children?
J in New York
Dear J: If you were to concentrate on other choices young children can make – for example, deciding when it’s time to go to bed or pulling a cat’s tail – I totally agree with you.
You’ve focused on one issue, physical contact, where I think it’s not only okay for your little one to make their own choice, but it’s very important for them to make their own choice.
Two things: Uncle is not “immediate family member”. And the 10-second hug is forever.
You may have happy memories of sharing hugs with older relatives, but many young children (myself included) felt extremely uncomfortable being forced to hug someone, even a family member.
Every person is different. Children have different temperaments and some just take longer to adapt to different social situations.
It would help you sympathetically understand that your 3-year-old family member spent his whole little life growing up during a global pandemic, watching people avoid hugs, keep their distance, and wear masks frequently. It is not only natural but also appropriate for a young child to be wary or unsure about when to cuddle.
In addition, each child’s bodily autonomy must be respected.
And – even if you think you want it more than you want to give it – you should be mature enough to find another way to show affection for this child.
Going down to its level, making eye contact, and high-five or punch can be a good start.
Dear Amy: I am a proud mother of a 16-year-old daughter.
My daughter is attractive and I know it may sound weird, but I honestly believe she looks much better when she wears makeup.
I encouraged her to wear makeup several times, and she got compliments for it.
Can I get her to wear makeup and spend more time looking?
Dear Unsure: No, it’s not okay to get your daughter to make up.
In fact, I think you should congratulate her for not being a tool for the beauty industry, which often encourages distortion and generates a lot of waste and other negative environmental impacts.
When it comes to spending more time on her appearance, encourage her only to take care of herself. This includes good hygiene, good nutrition, getting enough sleep and exercise, and cultivating good and healthy friendships.
I don’t judge people who choose to wear makeup, but I’m glad there is a trend to go away from makeup. Your daughter is right.
Dear Amy: I was interested in a question from Stumped who wanted a “one line” to calm heated political discussions.
In my opinion, the one-liner will probably just redirect incoming heat homing missiles.
I usually leave the room.
Dear Fan: I have the impression that many family members will volunteer to do the dishes this holiday season.
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#hurt #nephew #refuse #hug