Parents may often find themselves in an awkward situation when their young one refuses to greet guests or close relatives with a kiss or a hug. Many parents will insist children to return this unwanted physical contact; just to spare the feelings of their relatives and close friends. But is it the right thing to do?
As adults, it’s important to teach children to trust their instincts and that it’s alright to say ‘no’ in situations in which they may feel uncomfortable. Letting your child decide the appropriate proximity he is comfortable with as well as respecting his right to say ‘NO’; are ways in which your child will learn to trust his instincts and develop a comfortable personal space for themselves.
Balancing good manners and respecting your child’s personal space It may seem like a challenge to balance good manners and keeping up with your child’s personal space. You as an adult my find it rude if your child doesn’t hug or kiss his grandmother or uncle and other relatives and friends. But refusing affection should not be linked to bad manners.
If your child turns down physical contact with another adult; the following things can be taught to the child; Simply saying ‘no thanks, I don’t like hugs and kisses or blowing a kiss, smiling when greeting someone, a handshake or even a high five are some of the tactics that often work.
Convey to adults the importance of respecting children’s personal space As a parent it’s necessary to explain to other adults, about why your child may not like such close proximity and that’s it’s nothing personal or doesn’t mean that your child doesn’t like the person.
Why respecting your child’s choices are important
Respecting your child’s choices especially when they say no; conveys to them that ‘no means no’ and others will respect it as well as they will learn to respect when someone else says no. Over time your child, will learn to listen to their inner voice, voicing opinion and feelings, know that they have a control over their own bodies as well as not to blindly obey requests if they not comfortable with it.
So whether a person is 2, 13, 27 or 65, everybody has a right to their own personal space and respecting that is our duty.
Cloud H, Sims J. (1998). Boundaries with kids: when to say yes, when to say No, to help your children gain control of their lives.
Respecting personal boundaries retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/1005340-teach-kids-respect-others-personal-space/