Girl Scouts warn against forced family hugs


LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Stories about sexual harassment are surging just as the holiday season is underway. And while holidays may mean hugs for many, the Girl Scouts are telling parents not to make their daughters hug anyone, not even relatives.

KCAL’s Jo Kwon spoke with some girl scouts and parents about the hoopla over hugging.

For some a hug is a symbol of “affection and community.”

This mom says a hug can warm your heart. “Definitely positive, and reinforcing, and loving, and feeling–being loved.”

But the Girl Scouts of America published a blog post that says parents should halt those forced holiday hugs to family and friends: “Allowing children, particularly girls, the space to decide how they want to show affection.”

Girl Scouts of Greater L.A.’s Kenya Yarbrough said the post is a timely lesson in consent. “It’s important for kids to feel empowered and brave enough to share how they want to share.”

Girl Scout Jillian King said the post has taught her you can say “I love you” and “You don’t have to use your body to tell people that, you can just use your words.”

It’s a lesson former Girl Scout Barbara Blumenthal said she could have used as a kid. “Even in college and after that, working situations, I’ve been forced to hug people that I’d rather not touch me.”

So the Girls Scouts has suggested some alternatives to hugging, including a handshake, a high five, and a thumbs up.  They say it’s not an anti-hug thing.

But mom of two Gianini Haro said, “Girl Scouts, I think you’re over reacting.” She said hugging doesn’t require rules. “Very, very ridiculous.”

Haro said her family plans on plenty of holiday hugs. “You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow and you didn’t have that chance to hug and kiss somebody in your family.”

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