Posted by: Judy | August 16, 2012

Teaching children boundaries…

This may be triggering for some.

A study recently revealed that little girls, when given the choice between a sexy outfit and a fun outfit, chose the sexy outfit. Friends and acquaintances expressed their outrage. “Where did they learn this?”

I watched the Olympics, along with the advertised fall lineup, including a new “comedy.” What did half of a 30-second teaser show? A woman putting makeup on a little girl “playing dress up” and telling the little girl there wasn’t much they could do about her shape because she didn’t have one.

Where did they learn?

There will be those who say that it’s comedy. It’s meant to be funny.

Children are literal. Sarcasm is learned. Humor is learned. A child craves laughter. How often do they repeat bad behavior that was laughed at? Every time? They are taught to be sexual before they have any idea what it means.

Then they’re required to give grabby grandpa a hug and a wandering hands relative a hug and an inappropriate family friend a hug, and we wonder why they let strangers or boyfriends/girlfriends be too familiar. They are taught these opportunistic abusers love them, so their violation of their space and bodies isn’t a big deal. They are taught a false sense of having the right to say, “no.” Then these same idiot parents can’t understand why Johnny is sleeping with every girl like it’s an endurance contest and suzy is pregnant at fifteen.

They say that they taught their child boundaries when they were little, and they should be able to handle things as they grow up. What in hell are parents and caretakers thinking? How many predators choose their victims in their teens? They aren’t successful at obtaining and using their prey because the child didn’t know about boundaries. True some don’t, but some do.

MO of a predator:¬†Gain the trust of the prey. Sometimes, this is all it takes. The predator has the trust of the parents, all the better. They can use it as leverage. It also confuses the child. The predator knows this and uses it. “Mommy and daddy trust me, so it’s okay for you to trust me, too.” Even if it isn’t actually said, the child will process this all on their own. If the trust doesn’t give the predator what they want, they move onto the next: Threats. The predator, someone trusted and loved, will be in trouble. The child, the prey, will be in trouble. Someone the child/prey cares about will be in trouble/hurt/angry.

If your child isn’t comfortable around someone NEVER force them to interact with them. The person in question may not be the problem. They may simply remind the child of someone who is a problem. Instead, teach them how to be polite and respectful. Saying “ma’am” and “sir” and “please” and “thank you” is polite. Teach them how to say “hello” with a handshake, and if that is too uncomfortable, how to give a polite wave or blow kisses.

When did being reserved become something to be ashamed of?

Sadly, I see too many parents ashamed of the reticence their children express and put their own foolish pride ahead of the safety of their children.


  1. Fantastic post, Judy. *Standing Ovation*
    Children naturally hug and kiss those whom they feel comfortable with, and why do people make such a big deal of children being reticent to give a kiss or a hug to someone, it’s not like they’re going to die without it, is it? How come that all of us ACoNs when we talk about the pain we have with our families we are told to “get over it” but nobody says “get over it” to these people who are “rejected” by a little child whom they probably don’t even know that well anyway?
    Ooops, my indignation just run a bit ahead of me, hope I’m not ranting too much.

    • You are not ranting too much. In fact, you brought out what should be one of the obvious insanities of the whole situation. Thanks for adding it, Kara. Even if the adult does know them well they are the GROWN UP. How about acting like it? Stop expecting a child to accept the responsibility of taking care of an adult’s needs. Why do so many miss the insanity of this?

  2. As a parent that did allow our children to refuse to be hugged, I got flack for it. The pressure from others just seemed so bizarre to me. Like you said, I was the adult and I could take the heat. Just wish I had known more when they were younger and not taken them to family dinner either. Too late smart.

    • How insane is it that you have to “take the heat” for protecting your child. “Protect the children” is a popular song and dance, and yet children are so easily sacrificed to keep everything “pleasant.” Children were not put on this earth to make everything better for adults.

  3. YAY! :waves: :claps: :cheers:

    Let children have boundaries. Teach them how to have boundaries. They might not know how to phrase it exactly why they feel uncomfortable around someone, but they do have good sixth senses of whom to trust.

    When I was a child, NM forced me not only to endure hugs and kisses from people whom I felt uncomfortable around, but also to hug and kiss them back. I was lectured and always had to apologize if I wasn’t “nice enough”.

    I felt extremely uncomfortable around one of the people NM forced me to hug and kiss from a very young age. When I visibly became a grown-up woman, he r***d me. When I much later told NM, she shrugged and told me, “well, he also touched me when I was young, get over it, you still HAVE TO visit him and be nice to him, he won’t do anything to you”.

    Protect your children.

    As Judy said. Children can be polite, they can wave, smile, say ma’am and sir. They are not obliged to let people inside their innermost physical boundaries. And if they do not want them to, and they still do, it is violation. And they feel violated for a reason. We do have instincts for a reason.

    • Scatha, I’m so sorry you were betrayed.

      What kind of dumba** logic says it happened to me so it isn’t a big deal when happens to you?

      Here’s the healthy answer: It happened to me, so I will do whatever is within my power to make sure it doe NOT happen to a child entrusted to my care.

  4. My sister’s daughters worry me. They’re both in their early teens, and the older one is always posting provocative pics of herself on Facebook to her 800 friends. Eek. When the girls were in elementary school, my sister bragged about how they had little boyfriends who bought them gifts and how nice it was for their self esteem to get that attention.

    It still makes me want to vomit thinking of this.

    • So, they were taught their self-worth is dependent on their appeal to the opposite sex. Yep, I was taught the same abusive perspective and that kind of idiocy makes me want to scream.

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