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How do i stop strangers patting DD (5) on the head?

(43 Posts)
happyeverafterhome Fri 15-Jan-16 23:13:53

How is OK for strangers, or friends for that matter, to come up to my 5 yr old and give her bear hugs, or ruffle her hair, or tweek her cheeks? She hates it. I've told her its okay to say "no" in a strong voice, and we've practiced this, but she tends to freeze when it happens. She's blonde and blue eyed. It's even worse when on holiday in France/Italy. What to do?

coffeeisnectar Sat 16-Jan-16 00:47:36

Say careful "she bites" and hasn't had her shots.

Tell her it's ok to hide behind you. Tell friends or family to stop it. Tell strangers she's infectious.
Poor girl must feel like a human teddy bear.

TheHouseOnTheLane Sat 16-Jan-16 01:14:06

Who on earth "bear hugs" a strange child!? Did you do anything?? If someone I didn't know hugged my child, they'd be getting a strong NO from me as well as a thump on the head.

YOU need to teach people not to touch your child and she will learn from that.

She's small to manage the defence of her own body
A pat on the head is fine in my opinion though.

rosewithoutthorns Sat 16-Jan-16 01:48:09

I tend to think you're exaggerating things OP.

Are you a bit rigid where affection is concerned?

In Italy for instance people are so child friendly that they do show affection for small children.

Blimey, what are you portraying to your child?

IcecreamBus Sat 16-Jan-16 01:57:42

Just yell STOP! She has scabies!
That should do it grin

rosewithoutthorns Sat 16-Jan-16 02:03:24

don't get you at all. do you have a princess?

is she untouchable?

as i said in italy and france they do touch the head of a child, its normal and pick them up to squish them.

its lovely.

is your child not used to affection?

bbpp Sat 16-Jan-16 02:13:53

Superglue, mouse traps

DropYourSword Sat 16-Jan-16 03:17:10

Barbed wire headband!

I disagree with previous posters, I don't think it should have to be acceptable for people to pat her on the head or show other physical signs of affection.

FoxesSitOnBoxes Sat 16-Jan-16 03:24:34

Strangers come up to you and bear hug your child?' Really? How often is this happening?
I'm not sure I can picture a situation where a complete stranger would actually bear hug a child. Let alone one where this happened repeatedly.
There's nothing wrong in saying to people "oh she doesn't like to be touched" family and friends should listed to that and you can have a more serious word if they don't remember but strangers who bear hug children is just odd.

SlinkyVagabond Sat 16-Jan-16 03:50:38

Get her one of these.

goddessofsmallthings Sat 16-Jan-16 04:01:48

Don't holiday in France/Italy or any southern European/Mediterranean country or island and avoid Turkey, Africa, Middle East, Asia, China, the Caribbean, S America and Polynesia.

Vacation in Germany, Scandinavia, USA and Australia where there's no shortage of blonde blue-eyed little poppets and she won't stand out from the crowd.

Alternatively, teach her a few robust French and Italian swear words and encourage her to use them when strangers approach. On second thoughts scratch that suggestion as it will draw a crowd of laughing old ladies who'll dote on her prettiness and marvel at her precociousness.

motleyalice Sat 16-Jan-16 04:05:09

I think that we have got rather paranoid about people hugging or otherwise patting/touching children in a friendly manner in this country. Most other European countries are very fond of children and it is normal or usual to be affectionate (physically) to strangers.

That said - I have never, ever liked people touching me. I was a very shy child and really didn't like people trying to hug me etc. Heck, I even freaked about my grandad apparently - he passed away when I was 5 so I don't have any memories of him.

I still, as an adult, don't like people touching me. Because I am now disabled and use a wheelchair, it seems like people think its okay to keep patting or stroking me. It isn't, in my mind. I don't like it. As an adult it is easier to say "I'm sorry, but do you mind not touching me, please? It's very painful for me." As a child I wouldn't have had the ability to ask people not to touch me.

To me, the OP is more about the fact that the child doesn't like it, rather than the parent. If the child finds it uncomfortable to be touched then, yes, I think that the OP is doing the right thing in helping her become confident enough to be able to say "Please don't, I don't like it..." or words to that effect. It's a good thing to be able to help your child build confidence and to say "No." when it's important to them.

Euripidesralph Sat 16-Jan-16 05:01:59

It's worth mentioning that there is a school of thought that these scenarios are a learning tool for anti abuse tactics , body autonomy is a learnt behaviour and a users will use social niceties to override a child's wish not to be touched

I'm really really not a " abuser around every corner" person I promise but op says daughter has stated she doesn't like it .... responses querying that she should just accept the affection and not be so uptight about it are really quite unreasonable

If the little girl doesn't like it she shouldn't have to accept it because other people think she should be pawed for other people's need to show affection ... that's putting the adults needs above the child

I realise I sound a bit hippy dippy bit it's worth researching some articles on this

So anyhoo op I'd personally be tempted to ask people why they hadn't asked her first .... With friends and family it gets the point across, with strangers I'd point out they were rude

ThumbWitchesAbroad Sat 16-Jan-16 05:44:18

I'd probably go with "careful she bites" too, tbh.

I loathed having my cheeks pinched when I was a child, it fucking hurt! Some people have relatively loose skin on their cheeks, I do not. Pinching is just that, pinching - bloody painful.

I wouldn't mind being patted on the head, so much but ruffling the hair? no.

Maybe put some kind of elaborate head band with spikes on it on her? like these? or this, maybe?

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Sat 16-Jan-16 06:12:45

Gosh, so every single Spanish, Italian, Greek, Portuguese....(ad nauseum) male (and female) is actually grooming our children?

Well, who knew. (It doesn't sound "hippy dippy" btw, it sounds weird and paranoid and extremely offensive)

OP- here's a sensible answer. I do think, along with the sane members of the population, that these people think they're being nice. They like children. If they're pensioners, your dd probably reminds them of their granddaughter etc etc. It's a nice thing to do.

I'd distinguish between a person ruffling my dd's hair, speaking to her, and generally making a fuss, and someone who is "bear hugging" her. Maybe you or the other adult who is with her when the bear hugging occurs (because I'm guessing a 5 yr old isn't actually out on her own when this gratuitous fussing happens?) step in and say something. Is it always the same person doing the hugging? Or many?

The cheek pinching is very common in the Med, and actually, yes, it does hurt. It's what the oldies used to do to kind of say "oooh look at the fat on her, shows you have money and so can eat well" after the war. I've noticed over the last 20 yrs or so it doesn't happen quite so often.

toomuchtooold Sat 16-Jan-16 06:54:06

Sympathies OP. One of my girls has sensory issues and hates being touched by strangers. There's a little kid at her nursery who comes up to her and touches her face -luckily while the staff were all a bit "aww" about it they did also recognise that having her wish not to be touched respected is an important part of her developing her own boundaries and self respect and they intervene when he does it. Also, her twin sister has become aware of this issue and will body check the little kid to the ground when he approaches, so better for everyone if they stop it before it starts...

I think probably just being quite calm and saying "please don't do that, she doesn't like strangers touching her without asking" will get people to stop it pretty fast - if that's too blunt, I would try and kind of stand right by her with your arm around her so she's hard to get to? And don't tell her off for saying "yuck"/jumping back or whatever - DD copes OK with unexpected kisses as long as she can run it off her cheek straight after!

CrohnicallyAspie Sat 16-Jan-16 07:02:29

No one is saying that every Spanish, Italian etc person is grooming children.

BUT if children are taught to shut up and put up with being touched in ways they don't like, how are they to know they can say no to someone who does have malicious intent?

captainproton Sat 16-Jan-16 07:11:33

I don't know what it is about blonde hair and blue eyes, I know a lady from SE Asia who just can't help cuddling and squeezing DS cheeks whenever she sees him. She ignores all the other little nippers.

Then you have the opposite with red heads who suffer horrible abuse.

It's just hair!

FrustratedFrugal Sat 16-Jan-16 07:27:31

You have my sympathies. My 5-y-o DD2 has white-blonde hair and we've lived in Brazil and Italy for most of her life. People often approach her to touch her hair and she gets photographed a lot at airports by Asian tourists. The attention is always really friendly and positive but she feels singled out and has become increasingly apprehensive. For the past few weeks (since our trip to UAE) she has worn a hat 24/7 to cover her hair, even indoors and at home <sigh>

timelytess Sat 16-Jan-16 07:49:09

Strangers should not touch children, ever.

I like the idea of teaching children a healthy, multi-lingual vocabulary of 'Get lost' phrases... but I don't think dd would let me teach dgd socially unacceptable words. I'm going to research though.

WaitrosePigeon Sat 16-Jan-16 08:02:41

To be honest I think it's all a bit silly. There isn't much kindness left in the world.

Princecharlesfirstwife Sat 16-Jan-16 08:07:23

In 18 years of parenting a random stranger has never come up and bear hugged or cheek tweaked any one of my 3 Dcs. Maybe I have particularly un cute ones.

KinkyAfro Sat 16-Jan-16 08:23:23

I wouldn't accept a stranger bear hugging me or patting my head so why should a child? Is your child not used to affection was a shit comment rose

awfullyproper Sat 16-Jan-16 08:49:05

I sympathise.
DD, now 4 has got a lot of attention in SE Asia every time we've been, as she has very blue eyes and fairly light hair. Loads of photos from large groups of chinese tourists all day. Goodness knows how many phones she is on. It just gets too much. She doesnt like it, and about half of the people wont take no for an answer. People have even picked her up and taken her off to see their friends on the other side of a pool and in a restaurant. On our most recent trip we put a hat and dark glasses on her as it got way too much for her.

These people are just being nice. I do not doubt their intentions, but she gets very upset by all of the attention and I do not make her put up with it. She also cries very loudly after any cheek pinches.

Leelu6 Sat 16-Jan-16 09:36:39

Rose, are you for real? OP clearly said her daughter hates people touching her.

I come from a very affectionate family that loves kids but would draw the line at touching and hugging strangers' children.

My little niece gets kissed on her cheeks alot. We all encourage her to tell people no, as it annoys her.

This doesn't make her a princess.

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