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Kids being told to hug another child after hurting them

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#1 indigogirl

Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:49 AM

Ive had ths issue come up a few times lately and am interested in peoples thoughts.

So child A is regularly aggressive towards other children, so much so that other children are scared of Child A. Child A hits out at Child B. Parent of Child A then says "go and give Child B a hug to say sorry". Child B then stands there rigid and looking scared while forced to endure a hug that she doesnt want or appreciate.

I'm all for encouraging children to acknowledge that they have hurt another child. But I really hate this approach!

I am a strong believer in never forcing children to be affectionate towards anyone and that children have the right to decide how, when and who they want physical contact with. I consider it an important message in keeping kids safe and learning protective behaviours. I feel really passionate about it but also know that I can get worked up about an issue that noone else worries about!

So just interested - is this important to you too or just a "meh whatever" issue.

And if it is important to you how would you address it with other parents or would you just let it slide? In this instance Child B was not my child but could just have easily been. It will definitely keep happening and I'll have to keep seeing it every week! Dont know if I can keep sucking it up!

#2 katrina24

Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:55 AM

Hi, I think that if you feel this way:

a. don't ask your child to hug another child if they hurt them.
b. if Child A hurts your child and his/her parent tells them to hug your child, politely decline
c. if neither child involved is your child, look away.

I agree that it's not the best approach but if your child is not directly involved then I don't think it's a big enough deal to say something about.

#3 haras1972

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:00 AM

I don't like that approach at all... My SIL does that when her son does something and it grates as I can see dd doesn't like being hugged by by most people - only nana, dh and I seem to be allowed to cuddle her.

I also don't like it because some people just do not like a lot of physical affection - like me! My circle of friends are always kissing and hugging hello/goodbye and I endured it for years until I finally said something.... The relief of just saying bye and hello! I'm sure it looks weird when I'm the only one being excluded in a sea of kisses and hugs, but it really bothered me.

And I see dd has inherited a little of that trait from me, so hence my dislike of the forced hug, as well as the reasons the OP listed above.

#4 ~~HappyMummy~~

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:01 AM

QUOTE (20%Cooler @ 05/12/2012, 08:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it's just setting child A up to believe it's okay to hit out at people as long as you follow up with a bit of affection.

Child B is also being set up to believe it's okay to be hurt as long as the abuser hugs you afterwards.

Doesn't bode well for the long term I'm afraid.

I agree with this.  Well said.

#5 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:06 AM

I haven't thought about it before but I think I agree with you.

I guess you can say "B is still a bit upset and isn't ready for a hug right now but he/she knows you are sorry"   Would it be too old fashioned to shake hands to show the apology is accepted?

#6 lozoodle

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:06 AM

Yeah I'm not a real fan of that. I have a friend who gets her 4.5 year old to do that. He is super rough all the time and always hurts other kids (whether it be intentional or not) and this is her reaction to everything. It drives me crazy as the kid he has hurt is usually upset and a bit scared at the time, and its so forced as well. I'd rather she spend time diciplining her child and following through on consequences than forcing hugs.

#7 archygrouseferal

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:06 AM

QUOTE (20%Cooler @ 05/12/2012, 08:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it's just setting child A up to believe it's okay to hit out at people as long as you follow up with a bit of affection.

Child B is also being set up to believe it's okay to be hurt as long as the abuser hugs you afterwards.

Doesn't bode well for the long term I'm afraid.

Agree.  Child B is also being taught that they have to put up with physical contact they don't want for fear of rocking the boat.

#8 Cat People

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:08 AM

I don't like it either.  I also don't like the forced apology.  Encouraged and modelled yes, but not forced.

If it happened regularly, I would probably just pick my child up so Child A couldn't hug him.  A once off, I'd just ignore unless my child was particularly stressed by it.

#9 toosenuf

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:08 AM

Op: in the instance that you gave IMO it just show Child A that they still have power over Child B, as Child A will feel/see that Child B is uneasy.

#10 BadCat

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:09 AM

I think it's an awful approach.  I don't want my child to endure a hug from someone who just hurt them.  The long and short of it is this:  My child should not be imposed on so you can discipline yours.

#11 mez70

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:12 AM

I don't like this approach at all,
I would be very upfront and say no need to hug, just saying sorry is enough...

I am also the same parent who doesn't force my child to say "that is ok" when they are given an apology. I will insist on them thanking the person giving the apology for giving it, but I do not make then say it is ok as I feel in saying that they are condoning the action..I will allow my child to accept/ forgive in their own time (which often means they need time to reflect and calm down from inital action)

#12 JJ

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:12 AM

Yeah, it's just silly, for all the various reasons already mentioned by PPs. Physical contact should never be forced, we all have our own boundaries and a forced hug can seriously violate those.

Also, in a little while child A and B will go to school where, if they're (un-)lucky, hugging may be banned altogether.

#13 bubblegummum

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:13 AM

I don't like it but I'd handle it carefully.  The parent of the child being aggressive is probably feeling awful, and judged and is trying to make things better.  So if you go against the hugging do it with compassion.

#14 katpaws

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:37 AM

There was a boy in my mothers' group like that; he'd hurt other kids and his mother would be "hug them and say sorry" but she never seemed disturbed by her son's behaviour, as she never actually stopped him from hurting other children and often after her son "hugged" the children he had just hurt  they would still be crying (and they became terrified of him) so it was pretty obvious that her approach was not doing anything to help the situation and her son's behaviour got worse. After it happened to my daughter, i never left her alone with or near him unless i was right there so i could stop him hurting her. I would, though, if need be say something to the parent if they continued to let their child bully and hurt mine and then got that child to force my daughter in a hug. That is not acceptable behaviour.

This approach is not proper parenting; it puts the onus on the victim to be the "responsible one" as they have to hug the person who just hurt them back and they are expected to stop crying and feeling hurt as it might make the bully feel bad.

Edited by katpaws, 05 December 2012 - 08:39 AM.

#15 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:58 AM

Is a terrible approach, but then I'm not a fan of forcing children to hug other people anyway.

In this case it is sending both children the wrong message.

#16 Froger

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:00 AM

I agree with you OP.

Nothing worse than some grotty, snotty toddler punching yours, then the mother coming up and saying, "Johnny, hug the little boy and say sorry." NOOOOOOOOOO, I don't want your filthy child to touch my child again!

I just ignore and quickly take my child away when I see this situation might arise.

#17 Escapin

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:04 AM

Yeah, I hate it too. If DD has just been shoved or bitten or whatever, then she doesn't want any more full body contact! But I'm not quite sure how to say so to the mothers, especially as they happen to be my really good friends. Any good ideas as to how to broach it?

#18 JoMarch

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:15 AM

I agree with you OP & am not a fan of the forced hug.  As another PP suggested, maybe politely say that the hug isn't necessary.

#19 Just Another Cat

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:16 AM

QUOTE (indigogirl @ 05/12/2012, 08:49 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am a strong believer in never forcing children to be affectionate towards anyone and that children have the right to decide how, when and who they want physical contact with. I consider it an important message in keeping kids safe and learning protective behaviours. I feel really passionate about it but also know that I can get worked up about an issue that noone else worries about!

I agree with you OP. I dislike this approach.
DD doesn't like hugs from random people (especially if they just hit her) so I just tell the other child 'no, she doesn't want a hug thank you'.
If my child wasn't involved I would just leave it be.

#20 Julie3Girls

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:24 AM

Definitely not an approach I like.
I'm not even keen on making them shake hands.

If I was the mother of the agressive child, it would be case "A, I want to you say you are sorry, and then we are going to talk".

If I was the mother of B (which I have been just recently), the last thing I would want is to have child A anywhere near my child.
I'd simply say "I don't think B is going to want a hug right now, an apology and some space would be better"

#21 katpaws

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:29 AM

Any good ideas as to how to broach it?

Mary, when Burt hurts Sue-Anne and you get Burt to hug and say sorry to her afterwards, it actually makes the situation worse... see Sue-Ann is still upset, she is scared of Burt, and this is not the first time Burt has done this to her. Maybe doing it this way, Burt doesn't understand that hurting someone else is wrong and he might think it is ok to hurt someone as long as you say sorry to them. It may be better to get him to avoid hurting others, so I was wondering if you could just watch him a bit more closely when he plays with the other children.


#22 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:32 AM

QUOTE (Escapin @ 05/12/2012, 09:04 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yeah, I hate it too. If DD has just been shoved or bitten or whatever, then she doesn't want any more full body contact! But I'm not quite sure how to say so to the mothers, especially as they happen to be my really good friends. Any good ideas as to how to broach it?

Not the same but I have a friend who is always forcing her son to hug and kiss mine. He is usually reluctant to so after she has asked him again (she is quite bossy and forceful) I just say "it's okay, let's not make them do anything they're not comfortable with" and I leave it at that and take my son away.

She hasn't got the hint though because she's always forcing him to hug and kiss DS.

#23 opethmum

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:37 AM

I don't like that premise for reconciliation. It make it awkward for all parties concerned and sends the wrong message to all concerned. I think a simple verbal apology is all that is needed and it is up to the offended party to accept and not to put pressure on the victim to automatically accept. I think by hugging them is wrong and invades personal space and can make the child feel violated just to make the offender feel better and it sends the wrong message.
I think we are placing to much emphasis in making the offender feel better and children should be made to feel sorry and experience the negative emotions that come from wrong doing because that builds empathy and helps them to learn from their misdeed and try not to do it again.
In the same step the offended party should not hold a grudge and not drag the process out and making the process of reconciliation hard for the offender.

#24 EsmeLennox

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:39 AM

Yes, I don't like this approach either for the reasons already outlined.

#25 Frau Farbissina

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:42 AM


What about between siblings? Both my boys get into rough and tumble play which can end in tears or they fight over a toy and one hits the other, etc. I ask them to apologise to the other and give a cuddle to make up.  They usually comply. I don't force them to give a cuddle if they don't want to. Similarly, if the other doesn't want to receive a cuddle I say to just leave it for now.  So is this sending them the "it's ok to be mean as long as you show affection afterwards" and "if you get hurt, you should accept affection afterwards"  message if it's not enforced? Is it different between friends/strangers and family?

Edited by Frau Farbissina, 05 December 2012 - 09:43 AM.

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