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Is this a non-issue or not?

(48 Posts)
Fugghetaboutit Fri 20-Nov-15 14:23:47

This isn't a MIL thing btw but it's been brought to my attention due to her.
My ds isn't keen on his grandma - my H's mum as she is quite overbearing obsessed towards him.

When she comes over she keeps wanting cuddles and kisses and he will sometimes say he doesn't want to so she will threaten with 'no Christmas presents' so he'll then hug her. She called to talk to him yesterday and said 'Say hello! And he said no I don't want to so she again said if he was a good boy he would so he did.

Wwyd? He's nearly 3 btw so still little.

I strongly believe children should learn about body autonomy and that they shouldn't do things that make them feel uncomfortable.

Should I say something next time like 'ds, do you want to hug/kiss grandma?' If he says no, I'll say ok that's fine then, you don't have to.

Also, when she first arrives, he always says hello and gives a hug but she wants more during the period she's there.


ouryve Fri 20-Nov-15 14:25:56

Yes, you need to stick up for him. And give her one of his teddy bears if she likes cuddling so much.

AbeSaidYes Fri 20-Nov-15 14:27:57

yes - definitely say something. Just a 'you don't have to kiss anyone you don't want to darling' would do.

Pseudo341 Fri 20-Nov-15 14:32:05

I really don't like children being made to kiss and cuddle people they don't want to. Some people seem to forget they're human beings not objects and that they do actually have feelings about this issue. Frankly I think it's really horrible of your MIL to threaten no Christmas presents if he doesn't give her a cuddle, who the fuck would do that?! I'd absolutely be putting my foot down over this, and not too politely either.

springydaffs Fri 20-Nov-15 14:35:52

Very kindly - VERY kindly - explain to her about the body autonomy thing. Obvs, ladle on the 'it's not you's. Bcs of course it is delightful and very valuable his grandma wants to engage with him and, kids being utterly adorable at 3, it is very very hard not to cuddle them and show your immense affection towards them particularly if they are your own flesh and blood, your sons son.

And obvs don't influence ds to dislike his own grandma bcs you don't much like her yourself.

MarkRuffaloCrumble Fri 20-Nov-15 14:44:47

I think he should be made to say hello, that's just basic manners, but I can understand why he doesn't want to if it is followed by an unwanted hug.

I agree it's an important message and one that not everyone considers. I would say 'you don't have to hug anyone you don't want to hug, how about a high five or a hand shake?' and see if that helps. Explain to MIL that you are teaching him about respect for other people's bodies as it's an important message to keep himself and others safe as he grows up.

FWIW, my DS is not a big hugger and in the 5 years my DM knew him before she died he only gave her one hug. She was so taken aback that she didn't quite know what to do with it, but it made it all the more special because it was given freely!

LibrariesGaveUsP0wer Fri 20-Nov-15 14:48:21

My father has really, really vivid memories of being forced to kiss his aunties as a child and being told off if he didn't. He's in his late 60s and is pretty old school about a lot, but he's adamant no kid should be forced to kiss or hug someone.

I agree. It's a damaging message for children to learn that bodily autonomy can be overruled by sulking, or blackmail.

I think you, or better DH, need to gently explain to her.

What I sometimes do with other relatives is offer my kids an alternative they like more "You don't want to give a hug, how about a wave then", or something they'll find funny "You don't want a hug, how about you jump up and down?" Often that's something they'd like to do and shows the less understanding adult that they still want to engage with them.

Dandelionandburdock1 Fri 20-Nov-15 15:00:57

I got this for my 4 year old and it resonated in ways I hadn't expected.. Namely that Grandma is very overbearing with her cuddles and I've quite often heard DD saying "no thank you Grandma" repeatedly, and Grandma ignoring her.

It's such an important message and a brilliant book. We've had some really good discussions around it. Perhaps you could get a book and show MIL to open up the conversation about respecting a child's right to have physical space.. They have just as much right as we do..

TiffanyAtBreakfast Fri 20-Nov-15 15:28:16

YABU because I believe kids should be asked to say a quick hello at the very least, and a hug for a close relative isn't exactly a huge ask either.

YA also NBU though, because Grandma shouldn't be using Christmas presents as a bargaining tool for affection.

CrohnicallyAspie Fri 20-Nov-15 15:35:01

tiffany the problem is, kids might not be able to differentiate between aunty Florence who they only see a couple of times a year and coerces them to cuddle when they don't want to, and the nice person they wave to every day who coerces them to cuddle. Or indeed if aunty Florence wants more than a cuddle. If a child learns 'an adult can do what they like to my body and mummy/daddy is ok with that' it's a very dangerous message to have.

goodnightdarthvader1 Fri 20-Nov-15 15:35:11

Tiffany, the kid is saying hello, and giving a cuddle at the start.

TiffanyAtBreakfast Fri 20-Nov-15 15:53:28

Quote from the OP: "She called to talk to him yesterday and said 'Say hello! And he said no I don't want to". So, he doesn't always say hello.

TiffanyAtBreakfast Fri 20-Nov-15 15:55:08

I don't really think a grandma wanting lots of cuddles from her GS is "going to make the child think "an adult can do what they like to their body" hmm rather extreme there.

LibrariesGaveUsP0wer Fri 20-Nov-15 15:57:42

Actually it is sending a shitty message that you are obliged to give up bodily autonomy to keep people happy. Doesn't matter if that grandma or dodgy 'uncle' Phil.

TiffanyAtBreakfast Fri 20-Nov-15 15:58:58

Blimey. It's an overaffectionate Grandma confused

MarkRuffaloCrumble Fri 20-Nov-15 16:04:17

Tiffany, nobody is saying that the grandma is some sort of perv, we know her motives are just wanting a cuddle from her GS, however, the message we send to kids when we tell them to hug someone to get a present or to save upsetting someone is that their body should be used to make others happy even when it makes them feel uncomfortable.

It's not a huge leap to see how that translates in other situations.

Teaching a child to politely say "no, I don't want to" is an important life skill and one which can save them from some horrendous situations later on down the line.

MarkRuffaloCrumble Fri 20-Nov-15 16:07:22

FWIW, my grandad would always tell my parents not to force me to give him a hug - I loved him to bits, but I didn't like hugging him as I only saw him every few months and he wasn't that familiar to me.

When I was 10 a friend's dad tried to get me into a compromising position. I told him I didn't want to and stuck to my guns, (not realising what he undoubtedly had in mind at the time). I'm certain that the practice I had at saying 'no I don't want to' and having that answer respected helped me in that situation.

When we tell children, girls especially, that they are responsible for another person's happiness we put a huge pressure on them to sacrifice their own wellbeing for others. No wonder so many women are in shitty relationships on here.

goodnightdarthvader1 Fri 20-Nov-15 16:21:29

tiffany he probably doesn't want to say hello to her on the phone because he knows she's a boundary-stomping blackmailer. I wouldn't want to talk to someone like that either.

TheLesserSpottedBee Fri 20-Nov-15 16:43:44

<shudders at memory of Grandma's whiskery chin coming towards me for a kiss> grin

Saying hello is one thing, being forced to hug someone is another. One is polite and good manners the other isn't.

Politeness should be taught, like the way you eat food with cutlery and not sticking your head in a bowl like a dog.

So I'm all for a greeting and eye contact but hugs are not obligatory.

AcrossthePond55 Fri 20-Nov-15 16:50:01

If my child's grandma threatened 'no Christmas presents' if he wouldn't hug her I'd smile sweetly and say "That's OK darling, 'other grandma' will still have presents for you on Christmas".

A child should never be made to hug, kiss, or otherwise show physical affection to anyone. A child should never be coerced (offered treats or threatened with taking them away) to do so, either.

TiffanyAtBreakfast Fri 20-Nov-15 17:13:15

I'm not suggesting the grandma is pervy, just that some of the replies are a little OTT. All that's required is a quiet word to grandma that DS doesn't feel like hugs at the moment and not to force it, would suffice.

TiffanyAtBreakfast Fri 20-Nov-15 17:14:20

Sorry that should've been '*not suggesting others think the grandma is pervy*'

TiffanyAtBreakfast Fri 20-Nov-15 17:15:39

Oh yes goodnight, a 3 year old obviously thinks that... More like DS isn't told by his mum to say hello so knows there are no repercussions.

Topseyt Fri 20-Nov-15 17:18:15

When you say she "called to speak to him" do you mean she called round, or she phoned?

I would make him say hello, and greet her properly if she came round as that is basic manners. Then I would allow him to go off and do as he wished and would pull her up on it if she pressured him for more hugs than he wanted to give. If she phoned then he should say hello at the start of the conversation.

She shouldn't be trying to blackmail him to hug/kiss her though. Clearly she is making him feel uncomfortable.

Loki17 Fri 20-Nov-15 17:24:26

I think you need to be more direct with grandma. In your position when she starts the Christmas present this g I'd say 'don't try and bribe him to hug you, he will when he wants to'. You can be kind about it but direct. With the saying hello, I would insist he says hello as part of teaching good manners. Manners involve being polite, not kidding and cuddling when you don't want too.

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