When my daughter was two years old, we visited my husband’s grandparents for Christmas. When great-grandma leaned in for a hug, my daughter shrieked, “No, I don’t like that old lady! She looks like a witch!” and ran away.

I’m a firm believer in supporting my children’s choices about their bodies, but I was embarrassed. Great-grandma is in her early nineties and very traditional. We don’t get to see her often and when we do, I want my kids on their best behavior.

Lori Day, an educational psychologist and author, describes this typical family interaction. “Children can be fickle and unpredictable at family gatherings,” and adds, “It is important that parents affirm the boundaries their children set, even if it means running from great-grandma.” Read more…

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Why you shouldn’t force your kids to hug people this holiday season