Many parents might share the same sentiment as this mother who felt extremely uneasy when a stranger asked her young son for a hug.
Every day, we encounter many people while walking down the street. We might exchange a nod or small talk with some of those strangers we are never going to meet again. However, it is definitely weird when you approach a stranger and ask randomly to hug their kid. A woman and her young son faced a similar situation while they were at a restaurant, leaving the family in an uncomfortable state. The mother, u/emdehan shared her story on Reddit and kickstarted a debate on whether she was right to react the way she did.
The post started with the mom asking the community if she was in the wrong or not. She stated how she was posting her personal story for the second time in a different subreddit, r/breakingmom because previously, her post was not well received by the people on the platform and was deemed "crazy" for responding as she did. "Tried putting this on the parenting sub, but it was not met well? Maybe someone here will resonate because I can't be that far off my rocker," the post began.
The woman had visited a local waffle house at night with her young boy in tow when the awkward situation happened. "As we're in between the two sets of doors, the young lady at the counter practically yells 'Aw, he's so precious!' That's fine, I get it, I made a cute little kid. Thought the overreaction was odd. But then she threw me for a loop. She hustled around the counter towards him as he ran off to pick a booth," the post continued.
"She said with a matter-of-fact firmness to him, 'You know what?!' I'm thinking she's gonna give him stickers or a coloring sheet. But nope. She said: 'Come give me a hug!' She said it loudly with her arms spread out. Meanwhile, my kid is at the booth, like shyly cowering away because even he knows it's weird," the mother shared. The hostess continues to act weirdly, questioning the little kid if he is going to give her a hug or not. The mom stepped in and promptly informed the over-friendly hostess that her son wasn't into hugging anyone.
"Am I the only one who gets mad about this stuff? Like, don't touch my kid. Don't run up on my kid and demand physical contact from him. It's intrusive, to say the least. I would never touch someone else's kid without permission, except to keep them from harm. It just enrages me when people think they're entitled to my kid. And to put your hands on him? I'm gonna need to take a deep breath," the mother concluded her post.
This left the community divided over the mom and the hostess' actions and some took the parent's side, whereas others voiced their opinions against her. u/prettywannapancake wrote, "I so cannot fathom how people can think that's ok! You wouldn't walk up to a complete stranger adult and ask for a hug!"
u/oohrosie commented, "No way I would support this behavior from a stranger. Don't touch people's kids, don't invite a stranger's kid to come hug you, don't yell at kids for no reason. My kid knows he doesn't have to hug or kiss anyone he doesn't want to, and he understands others might not want that either. Clearly, that lesson is a new-age idea."
u/scatticus_finch added, "I wasn't there, but legit, the same thing happened to my kid at a recent appointment. The receptionist asked her for a hug and my partner had to have a big talk with our kid about how we don't have to hug people if we don't want to. I have tried to teach her about bodily autonomy, but it really bothers me that people will ask this of kids when they wouldn't do it to an adult."