By Emma Teitel - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 0 Comments
From forcing kisses on relatives to hand-holding, kids may be losing their liberties
You’ve all been there: unruly, unclean and narcissistic, yet for some reason, irresistible to everyone in your path. You are four years old at a family function. A stranger approaches. She looks and smells like leather. She has whiskers. She wants a kiss. You duck away, look to your parents for support. Not only do they ignore your calls for help, they are, in fact, aiding and abetting this sadistic ritual: “Give your auntie a kiss, sweetie,” they plead. “It will mean so much to her.” You abstain, they get stern and finally, defeated, you give in and let the whiskers brush your chin as the stranger plants a wet one on your tiny grimace.
Being forced to kiss and hug distant relatives—endure cheek-pinching from old people you’ve never met—is a universal annoyance, an age-old tradition most of us have experienced first-hand. But its days may be numbered. Support for a new parenting trend is on the rise, a trend defined not by the affection kids crave, but by the affection they detest. Irene van der Zande, founder of Kidpower International—a non-profit organization devoted to child safety (she founded Kidpower in 1985 after a man threatened to kidnap her children)—believes that forcing kids to show affection is potentially dangerous. “When we force children to submit to unwanted affection in order not to offend a relative, we teach them that their bodies do not really belong to them,” writes van der Zande, “because they have to push aside their own feelings about what feels right to them. This leads to children getting sexually abused, teen girls submitting to sexual behaviour and kids enduring bullying because everyone is having fun.” Shirin Purnell, a Virginia parenting blogger who subcribes to this belief—she wrote about it last week on her blog, On the Fence—believes that even suggesting to your child that a relative might enjoy a hug or kiss is “emotional manipulation.”
By Fatima Arkin - Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 11:14 AM - 0 Comments
Don’t worry! There are etiquette classes you can buy for that.
Lorelei Rollings says that her family rarely has time for a relaxed dinner. If she doesn’t have to drop off her son, Bennett, 11, at acting, computer programming or French lessons, her nine-year-old daughter Georgia has piano and voice lessons to attend. Her husband, Richard, does media relations for a government agency so he’s on call 24/7. And while Lorelei describes her workday as “more contained” (she works for the Federal government in London, Ont.), she feels “a draw to be well-rounded.” That means extra curricular activities, like book club and yoga, eat up a lot of her free time.
With all the comings and goings, family dinners are often rushed.
“We’re always so busy,” says Lorelei. “I’m worried because as parents we weren’t really teaching [our kids] about dinner etiquette and we probably didn’t have enough confidence in our own skills about the more formal protocols.”
So when Lorelei came across an online ad for children’s etiquette classes, she enrolled both of her kids. And she isn’t the only one. In the past year and a half, etiquette experts say they’ve noticed more and more parents signing up their kids for classes to learn proper table manners.