My children’s affection is not for sale

Continuing from my most recent post on how it is not my children’s job to entertain visitors, I have another, more serious, observation: my children’s affection is not a commodity.

Out with some friends, my children were subjected to a barrage of requests for faux affection.

‘ BabyGirl, hug X!’

‘BabyBoy, kiss Y!’

‘BabyGirl, high five Z!’

‘BabyBoy, give W a cuddle!’

No, no, no, no, no, no. My children’s affection is something they should give when they want to. Their hugs and kisses are are not to be commanded, nor are they to be used as entertainment (‘Aw, that’s so cute! Can you kiss X again?’), nor should they be made a pre-condition (‘Give Y a cuddle and she will give you a present!)

Now, I know these adults. This was all innocent. But to me it shows a complete lack of respect for my children as people – you wouldn’t say these things to another adult.

And what does it teach my children? They it is acceptable for hugs and kisses to be bought, to be used for attention, to be forcibly ‘given’?

I spent most of that visit shielding my children. ‘She doesn’t want to right now.’ ‘You don’t have to darling.’ ‘Now is not a good time.’

Adults, my children deserve better.

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