To Hug Or Not To Hug?

14 July 2010

hugging-permitted-copyTHAT is the question!

I'm going to do my best not to start RANTING and go on for hours here because I'd rather hear YOUR opinions...I already know mine.

Q: Your child has just started school. It's all new and unfamiliar; they fall over, graze their knees, are crying and upset.

Do you want the teachers to:

a) be sympathetic but stand back whilst your child sobs, telling them to get to their feet and must go to the sinks to wash the graze themselves because they're not allowed to touch any children in case it's considered, or construed, as abuse, or

b) help your child to their feet and put a reassuring arm around their shoulder and reassure them that everything will be ok?

I was reading this article earlier and it got me thinking...a dangerous pasttime I know!

How are we going to protect our youngsters, when necessary, without demonising physical contact of any kind and teaching them to view all adults with suspicion?!

I taught horse-riding to kids a few years ago; if I needed to help them onto their pony, or move their hands or legs so they were positioned properly I had to say, "I'm going to have to touch you, is that ok?" and I had to make sure there was a least one other adult present to witness their consent!

If they said no, I'd have to watch them struggle - it was crazy! It's even worse for men!

I know a lot of male photographers with kids who've felt awkward just shooting their own children playing in the park, and viewed with suspicion for being a man near kids with a camera.

My teenagers are going to be flying, on their own, with British Airways to Italy next month. Should I be reassured, or outraged on behalf of the male population, that due to the BA policy which states unaccompanied children are NOT to be seated next to an adult male they don't know, my nearly 15-year-old daughter won't be sat next to a man?

When the cabin crew go up and down the aisles before take-off this is what they're also checking for. If they spot this very scenario then the man is politely asked to move to a different seat and the plane will NOT be allowed to take off until he agrees!

Have we all gone crazy or are we still not doing enough?

HOW do we find a balance - is this even possible? - before we batten down the hatches completely and never talk, touch or look at anyone again!

Opinions on a virtual postcard please!


  • saf
    I think mankind are getting worse. I mean when I was a kid, just 24 years ago, teachers did hug children if they felt it was necessary. I would never have thought that any child would mind. Its just a show of affection after all. Children need to be hugged. The more "civilised" and "modern" we become, the less moral and loving. So what's the point? More children now adays are getting pregnant, are having boyfriends/girlfriends, are rude to adults, don't have manners, are not concerned about others. I think we need to stop with all this politics stuff and just live. We need much harsher punishments for people who do the 'wrong' thing, and we need to bring back the death penalty. I know loads of people will be thinking "what?!" But yes we do, as this will deter people from doing these things, yes one/two/three people might have to suffer the consequences but after that I'm pretty sure people will get the msg that this is gna land me in some real s**t and so will avoid it. A teacher is a teacher. They are caring, compassionate, loving, and want to make a difference. They don't need boundries that stop the teacher-child relationship. And we need to trust our teachers. Parents need to stop the thinking that children need to know everything they ask about. Because they don't. Children need to be children. They need to have their innocence preserved and they need to be allowed to be children. They need to wear clothing that is for children, they need to play with things that are suitable (I hate bratz dolls because they are so tarty). But they do need to explain to children what is wrong and what behaviour is right. It seems to me the more parents are open with children, the worse society is becoming...
  • saf
    Ps,, sorry if I've offended anyone.
  • Tamsin O.
    YOu haven't offended me! Thank you for such a wonderfully long and thought out response Saf.
  • Tamsin O.
    Although I'm not entirely sure about bringing back the death penalty. That, perhaps, is a big debate for another day...
  • Fiona
    Hug - of course! I'm with Sarah and saf. Considering the hoops people have to go through to get these jobs - I had to have a full CRB check just to sell refreshments over a table at a school disco! - surely we have to trust them to carry out their roles. Sure, there are those who abuse the position, but parents should be able to tell their children what's appropriate and what's not, so they can raise the alarm at the first sign of a problem. And schools need to reassure children that if they do highlight a problem, it will be taken seriously. I've seen young children coming home sunburnt from school trips because teachers were not allowed to help them reapply sun cream. In my view, skin cancer poses a greater and more real threat than a vetted teacher touching the back of a child's neck for a couple of seconds. Why is society so keen to vilify adults, especially men, in the presence of children - even their own. At my son's 6th birthday party at a local playframe facility , we were forbidden from taking a photo of him blowing out the candles on his cake, in case someone else's child who wasn't at his party got into the background. Come on, people, these are precious memories we're being denied! As for the airline policy, surely it would make more sense to have unaccompanied children sat next to the cabin crew area, so they could be supervised, rather than needlessly humiliating a fellow passenger. How can this country be so over-the-top at this end of the scale while, at the other extreme, offering protection and anonymity to convicted murderers and paedophiles 'to protect their human rights'. It just doesn't add up.
  • Lynley O.
    Hear hear!

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