Entertainment And News

Mom Wonders If She's Weird After Stranger Asks Her Child For A Hug — 'It Just Enrages Me When People Think They're Entitled To My Kid'

Photo: Carelch, Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock; CanvaPro 
child, hug, stranger

While out in public, we’ve likely come across a cute baby in a stroller or a toddler adorably skipping around a store. We may complement the child’s parents and dote over their cuteness; however, we should never feel inclined to touch them without permission. 

It can throw many parents, and their perplexed and frightened children, for a loop. 

One mother shared her recent experience at a restaurant with her young son and a stranger that left both of them feeling uneasy. She asked other parents if they have similar feelings and if strangers have ever attempted to touch their child as well. 

The mother says the hostess asked her child for a hug when they walked into the restaurant. 

Writing to the subreddit, r/breakingmom, the woman asked other mothers if her feelings are valid. 

She shared that one evening she and her young son went to their local Waffle House for dinner. As they were walking into the restaurant, her son caught the attention of one of the staff members. 

“As we’re in between the two sets of doors, the young lady at the counter practically yells ‘Aw, he’s so precious!” the woman wrote. “That’s fine, I get it, I made a cute as crap kid.” 

RELATED: A Man Is Refusing To Punish His Son Who Pushed His Younger Cousin When She Tried To Hug Him & His Wife Is Furious

Although, she claimed that she perceived the waitress’ “overreaction” as “odd.” 

A few moments later, the waitress walked from behind the counter toward the woman’s son, who had run off to select a booth. “She says with a matter-of-fact firmness to him, ‘You know what?!’” the mother shared, “I’m thinking she’s gonna give him stickers or a coloring sheet. Nope.” 

Instead, she opened her arms out to the little boy and insisted that he give her a hug. “Meanwhile, my kid is at the booth like shyly cowering away because even he knows it’s weird,” the woman wrote. Nevertheless, the waitress persisted. 

mom enraged after stranger asked her child for a hug without her permissionPhoto: Chubykin Arkady / Shutterstock 

“Are you gonna give me a hug or are you gonna be shy?!” she asked. This time, the woman intervened, telling her that her son does not give hugs, and placed herself between her and him. 

The situation left a bad taste in the woman’s mouth. “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,” she vented. “I would never touch someone else’s kid without permission, except to keep them from harm.” 

RELATED: People All Over The Internet Are Upset About A Video Of A Football Player And His Mom Hugging After A Game

She added that it “enrages” her when people think that they are “entitled” to her kid and believe that they could put their hands on them. Still, she asked other parents if she had a right to be angry and if she was “weird.” 

Many other parents also believed that strangers in public places had no right to approach their children and attempt to touch them. 

“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!” one person 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 damn reason,” another user wrote. 

Others pointed out that demanding that children give hugs to strangers was disrespecting their bodily autonomy. 

It's important for children to understand their own personal boundaries and that it's okay to refuse hugs. 

As a parent, you should never force your child to hug anyone they have expressed they don’t want to, no matter if they are a stranger or a beloved family member. Psychologists believe that allowing children to assert their boundaries, which includes refusing to give hugs, will benefit their self-esteem and awareness. 

RELATED: Mom Makes Daughter's Grandparents Ask For Consent Before Hugging Her & Doesn't Care That Their 'Feelings Are Hurt' If She Says 'No'

“One of the goals that we want to teach our kids, especially for safety and boundaries, is how to have their own boundaries and how to say no, especially when it comes to their own body,” Suzy Gange, a licensed professional counselor, and Director of Clinical Services and Education Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas, told Well+Good. “What we're doing is giving them confidence so that they can handle and manage things on their own.” 

mom enraged after stranger asked her child for a hug without her permissionPhoto: Anastassiya Bezhekeneva / Shutterstock 

Gage also expressed the importance of parental support when it comes to their children laying down their personal boundaries. When children feel uneasy in certain situations, it is their parent's job to be their biggest advocate and have their back to make them feel secure. 

While children may be adorable and trigger your “cute aggression,” this does not mean you can approach and touch them at your own will. After all, they are not just cute playthings. Just like us, they are humans who deserve respect and personal space. 

RELATED: Mother Seeks Advice After Little Boy Constantly 'Kisses' & 'Cuddles' Her Toddler Daughter At Daycare

Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.