Girl Scouts organization encourages parents to refrain from telling their children they owe someone a hug

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Don’t force your daughter to hug relatives -- that’s the message the Girl Scouts of America are sharing with parents this holiday season.

The Girl Scouts organization says this isn’t a license to be rude to relatives, but with all of the stories in the news with powerful men accused of sexual assault, the Girl Scouts see this as a timely message to remind girls it’s okay to set physical boundaries and expect respect.

In a blog posted on their national website, Girl Scouts officials warn that telling your daughter she “owes” a relative a hug because she received a gift from them or haven’t seen them in awhile can affect their mindset when they are older.

That is, later in life she might feel she owes a date physical affection because he paid for the meal or gave her a gift.

They add that teaching your daughter about consent at a young age can help them learn boundaries, understand their rights, and teach them when to go for help if a line has been crossed.

So instead of having her hug and kiss relatives she doesn’t know or doesn’t see very often, they suggest having them show appreciation in other ways, such as with a smile, a high-five or an air-kiss.

"Allowing children, particularly girls, the space to decide how they want to show affection," Girl Scout leader Kenya Yarbrough said.  "It's important for kids to feel empowered and brave enough to share how they want to share."

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