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How do you tell your child it's ok to say NO to adults without fearing that they will appear rude?

(8 Posts)
bummer Thu 25-May-06 14:43:05

I have always been concerned about how do you tell your child it's ok and their right to say NO to an adult if you don't like what they are saying or doing? Of course I am talking about child abuse here. I have tried to explain without going into detail but sometimes feel my children are getting mixed messages does anyone know of any useful websites/books dealing with this subject. Sometimes I feel my children wont give relatives/friends an innocent hug or kiss goodbye even though they see us do it and so should know it's ok but then again, is it if they aren't happy with it.

Sorry to ramble but in light of a recent posting this is troubling me again.

morningpaper Thu 25-May-06 14:47:38

I know what you mean.

If an aunt/uncle is pressing for a hug/kiss and child is reluctant, I ALWAYS say "Don't worry baby, you don't have to kiss X, just wave goodbye nicely." I always make a point of this. Some rellies whine a bit about this FFS, but I turn this into a joke "Ooh darling, isn't Grandma needy!" and laugh and change the subject. I hate people forcing themselves on my children but I have to be able to stick up for them when they are uncomfortable giving affection even if relatives feel slighted. Affection must be given freely and it makes me uncomfortable when people don't respect that.

Hope that isn't too rambly.

MarsLady Thu 25-May-06 14:50:20

I have always told my children that they don't need to kiss the relatives if they don't want to. I think it's important that they know they can say no. I've explained it to each of the relatives that fuss. However, I always tell the children not to be rude about it.

I've also always told them that if anyone does try to press a kiss etc on them that they don't want they are at perfect liberty to shout NO NO NO NO NO! (I find that puts the offending rellies off )

SenoraPostrophe Thu 25-May-06 14:51:07

do they not hug because they are getting it mixed up with darker things, or because they are just not that kind of children? if the latter, don't worry too much. ds is quite huggy, but dd simply is not (I didn't realise before quite how much of it s personality!).

If the former, then yes you need to clear things up. I must admit, I tend to feel that people overdo the stranger danger advice thing generally (given that child abuse is thankfully very rare), but I think they'll understand if you just say that hugging people you love is a good thing, but if they don't want anyone to touch them they can always say no won't they? do you really need to go into more detail than that?

bummer Thu 25-May-06 17:37:41

They are just not that huggy with people they know but just wonder if anything were to happen where they felt uncomfortable and they had not been told it's okay to say no would they confuse it with being rude. Yes thankfully we are told abuse is rare but as they get older they are placed more and more in situations where they COULD be vulnerable aren't they? So I think it is my duty to build their confidence and let them know that just because someone is an adult it doesn't always mean you have to do as they say. Abuse can be very mild but still disturbing and I just want to protect that's all.

SenoraPostrophe Thu 25-May-06 17:40:38

well if they feel they can say no to your friends I don't think there's a problem - as long as you don't tell them off for saying no. I like morningpaper's way of dealing with it!

PanicPants Thu 25-May-06 17:46:35

As an aside, the stranger danger thing is very misleading, as most abused children are abused by someone they know, so it's not a bad thing for them to be aware of being allowed to say "NO" even to family and friends if they don't feel comfortable.

juuule Thu 25-May-06 17:51:15

If they don't feel it's right or they feel uncomfortable with something then I let mine know that it's okay to say no. I think it's then up to the adults to deal with their own feelings not pile the emotional pressure onto the child. Children will get older and more mature and then be able to evade things more politely but when they are younger they should be able to refuse in uncomfortable situations and feel okay. If the adults don't like it then that's their problem.

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