Mom Sparks Debate After Saying Grandparents Don’t Have the Right To Hug Her Infant
Jun 09, 2021 by apost team
Every parent has their own ideas about how they want to raise their child. Some people prefer to have stricter rules while others are more laidback, for example. With the emergence of the internet, parents across the world have been able to share which techniques they think are best to raise a healthy and happy child; some approaches are universally applauded, while some spark an intense debate.
For example, one mom on Reddit explained to people on the internet that her 6-year-old daughter had bitten her grandmother because she doesn't like being hugged, which led to a debate about whether grandparents have a right to hug their grandchild as they please. Many mothers have now started using internet platforms to echo the same thought, adding that consent should be required for any family members including grandparents to actually show physical affection towards their children.
Brittany Baxter, an Australian mom, has passionately supported this point through a series of TikTok videos, where she explains that all grandparents should be asking for permission before hugging her 2-year-old daughter. She also goes further and says that no one has a right to demand any physical affection from her daughter.
This video uploaded in April 2021 has since led to debates about whether this practice is fair or valid, and has a lot of people joining in on the conversation. For Baxter, however, there are no two ways about it, and her series of videos on why consent should be important even for toddlers and young children have made waves on the internet.
Baxter says her 2-year-old daughter's grandparents continue to cross boundaries despite being explained time and again. She adds that even her toddler daughter can understand how consent works, but for some reason, the adults don't seem to like it and take the boundaries personally. In one of her TikTok videos, Baxter starts, "As a parent, I practice consent with my daughter and something has been really bothering me lately..."
She decided to take her thoughts to TikTok, asking, "Can we please start normalizing the fact that kids do not have to kiss and hug adults?"
She explains that she's been teaching her daughter about consent from the day she was born and that she finds it really "unhelpful when the adults in her life are like 'What, we have to ask for a kiss and a hug?' even though I’ve explained why multiple times. And then when she says no, they’re like 'Oh, she doesn’t love me, my feelings are so hurt,' and then they proceed to overstep her body boundaries anyway." She continued:
"My daughter and her body do not exist to make anyone feel more comfortable and to make anyone feel more loved. It is not her fault and it is not my fault that the older generation haven't taken the time throughout their entire lives to learn how to regulate their emotions/feelings so consent doesn’t continue to be overlooked."
For Baxter, "No one’s feelings are ever going to be more important than my daughter’s right to her own body." She made it clear she wouldn't allow her daughter to "grow up in an environment where 1. She doesn’t know how to say no and 2. She doesn’t know what it looks like for her 'no' to be respected." She concluded the video with, "Grandparents, do better."
Baxter spoke to Sunrise, where she explained why she made the video:
"If we can’t allow our children to say no and we can’t teach them that it’s ok to say no, how are they ever going to be able to do that when they find themselves in difficult situations where they feel uncomfortable?"
While her video went viral with over 400,000 views and thousands of comments, it received a mixed response according to Baxter. "A lot of people are very outraged which I understand, a lot of people have misunderstood the point of the message that I’m trying to get across," she told the news outlet.
In Apost's comments section, Baxter found support from men and women alike, with one person commenting, "I would, [n]ever hug a child without asking. Not all children like to be hugged." Another wrote, "I always ask my grandson if I can have a hug. If he says no, that's fine. I know he loves me and everyone is entitled to their own personal space."
However, others thought she went too far. One man wrote:
"Assuming there are no issues with the adult side of the relationships — which I accept can be real. Then one would think the child will go to the grandparent freely. It's not about consent, but more about what feels right, and quite frankly cuddling should be encouraged."
Others were outraged at Baxter's views, with one woman writing, "Until your [sic] a grandmother u [sic] wouldn't have a clue how precious [children] are."
It's safe to say that Baxter's views have stirred up a debate, and there are many people on either side of it.
We would love to know what side of the debate you are on. Do you agree with the belief that grandparents should ask before hugging their grandkids? Tell us your thoughts, and be sure to ask others how they feel about it as well.