Memory Lane


“Nobody kisses me! Except my mother, my Grammy, my Aunt Kisha, my LaLa, my Nanny, my Dada, my Gma,” (and the list went on)

I knew the list cold. It was a list we agreed on together. See, I am his mother.

And, that little four-year-old who was being indignant and yelling, was my son. He was playing with a ten-year-old girl a few yards away from me.

I didn’t see what happened, but apparently, she must have kissed him. He liked her. But, he had just met her within the last hour. So she wasn’t on the list. He didn’t know her.

I was already working in domestic & sexual violence. So you know I started him young with sexual violence prevention.

But that isn’t the only reason.

Back in the Day (a little further)

Me and my little sis have some icky memories of being prodded to hug/kiss relatives/neighbors.

I hated that crap.

My little brother didn’t have to go through this.

They have reasons for them. “He’s a boy.” “Boys don’t kiss.” “He’s playing, let him be.” “Aw, he’s a big boy.”

As for me and my sis, if we so much as turned up our faces or pulled away:

We were being rude. We weren’t being nice. We were hurting someone’s feelings.

Goodness gracious, I remember a certain elderly male that our family used to visit who would actually pretend to cry just to guilt us into a hug/kiss. Everyone thought it was cute. Yuck!

What message do you think that we got?

When this topic comes up, even WOMEN defend the practice of forcing children to kiss and hug people they don’t want to.

For, why? What is more important than a child learning safety and empowerment?

Okay, it comes down to this. There will many moments when our children will be away from our safe watch.

Important Question

So, when raising a girl child, do you want her to learn how to be compliant or how to bravely and loudly say “no” when she means it?

Before you answer You should know that it sends the message early that you should be compliant.

Those early lessons stick. You teach us that we should be compliant. That we should be nice. That we should think of the comfort of others before ourselves.

It also taught a sense of helplessness. A sense that adults were in charge, they could do what they wanted, and whether I wanted something to happen or not I had to go along with it.

I was sexually abused as a child by people my mother knew and thought she could trust.

I’ll leave that right there.

And, I’ll ask one last time.

When raising any child, boy or girl, do you want them to learn how to be compliant or how to bravely and loudly say “no” when they mean it?

Author's Bio: 

Tonya GJ Prince is a professional expert in both abuse & post-crisis growth. She is an author, activist, advocate, Survivor, speaker, counselor, & mentor. Tonya enjoys family, friends, laughter, music, movies, storytelling, reading, writing, DIY projects, and stage performance.