Kiss Granny?

Last week, a girlfriend sent over a link to this illustration, and it hasn’t fully left my mind since. I’ve always been a firm believer in raising a child with character over compliance, someone who isn’t afraid to buck the system in a thoughtful, kind manner. So of course the idea of children’s agency hits particularly close to home.

Whether you’re Team “Kiss Granny” or not, here’s an alternative that works well in our own house when it comes to greeting guests with respect:

“You can offer a hug, high five, or a hello.”

Bee loves that she gets to choose, and we love the message it sends in the long run. Tell me, what are you currently teaching the littles in your lives? I’d love to hear!

p.s. If you’re in the podcast mood, I’ve got more chatter on greeting guests and summer entertaining right this way.

  • YES! Thank you. This can be a tough conversation in families but we established that our kids will never be forced to kiss anyone ever! And we ask that all who encounter them respect that. They do,, however have to politely greet everyone. High fives work well for our pre teen daughter who’s love language is NOT touch!!

  • We do this too. I love the book “God Made All of Me” for a good way to guide these discussions. At age 2, my daughter could discuss what she should say/do if someone touched her in a way that made her uncomfortable. She could list her private parts by anatomical names and talk about why we keep them covered. We often have a discussion about secrets, and how our family doesn’t keep them, so she can always tell a secret to mommy or daddy. At 3 she’s still not assertive enough to always refuse uncomfortable a hug or touch, but I try to observe her signals and coach her through it so hopefully she’ll gain that ability with time. My husband is in youth ministry, and we know too many heartbreaking stories of kids who were hurt, so we can’t ignore this training.

    • Oh thank you for the great book rec! (And ah, I hear you on the youth ministry front. A very sad reality.)

  • Oh, I love the idea of giving a choice! I grew up being forced to give everyone in the room a hug or kiss when leaving large family functions and I remember feeling so awkward and weird. I ask my kids to say goodbye when we leave but never expect them to hug or kiss unless they want to. Usually they want to! But I can’t imagine making them.

    • Yes! My parents never forced me to hug/kiss – just a respectful goodbye and/or “thank you for having us!” I’m so grateful!

  • Interesting. Where I live now and the culture my children and grandchildren are growing up in, kids are taught from an early age to offer a (firm!) handshake and to look people in the eye and smile and all of ours do this very confidently.
    Personally, I find the kids offer to hug me and sometimes a kiss since we are first-degree family. One wants a pursed-lips smacker, others prefer a quick cheek contact, so I try to be sensitive to what they want in the moment and to consider their age, too. (8 year old boys, anyone?!)
    This culture is handshakes (as above) for everyone but 3 cheek kisses (not just air…) for friends and family. Our language also differentiates between formal and famlliar and in this way, distance can also be kept if desired while politeness is maintained.
    Naturally, kids’ boundaries should be kept but it’s also important that they socialise in accepted terms.

    Incidentally and tangentially – it’s also important in our central European culture to look people in the eye when you are clinking glasses and toasting! Spot the foreigner… ;)

    • I completely agree — firm handshakes are so important to teach! And hahah, I’m well-versed in the locking eyes while clinking glasses rule after failing to do so abroad a few times already. ;) Thank you for your fascinating thoughts!!! :)

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