The Girl Scouts of America issued a reminder to parents ahead of the holiday season, that they shouldn’t make their daughters show affection to relatives, telling a young girl she “owes” a hug to a relative may have unintended consequences later in her life.
The Scouts released the statement along with a tweet on Monday, writing on the social media network: “she doesn’t owe anyone a hug. Not even at the holidays.”
Girl Scouts asks parents to consider the following scenario:
“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 scouting group wrote that urging young girls to hug relatives or friends may give them “the wrong idea about consent and physical affection.”
They added that the best route to take is to let girls decide how they want to show affection to loved ones and friends.
“Saying how much she’s missed someone or thank you with a smile, a high-five, or even an air kiss are all ways she can express herself, and it’s important that she knows she gets to choose which feels most comfortable to her,” their statement suggested to parents.
The Girl Scouts have a history of taking on polarizing subjects regarding girls, women and gender identity. From May 2015 the Girl Scouts of America welcomed transgender girl scouts to the organization. Parishes and religious groups split with the organization because of the GSUSA’s “secular” interests.