Why I Won’t Make My Children Give Hugs or Kisses to ANYONE if They Don’t Want to

It’s seems so normal and innocent to tell our kids, “Now give grandma a kiss and hug for coming to your birthday party”, or “Hug your uncle to thank him for that gift!”, and then proceed to push them or maybe even force them to hugging or giving a kiss to whoever it might be. It never came to my mind before that forcing kids to show intimacy as a thank you or as a sign of respect or love (or for whatever other reasons we have) to other people is wrong until I read an article about it years ago.

In our minds we think family members or maybe even close friends have the right to be shown intimacies like hugs and kisses from our children. “Why won’t you hug your grandma? That’s not very nice!”. Do we want to shame our kids into showing intimacy? Because if we punish them or demean them for this personal choice we are taking away their right to consent. We are teaching them that they don’t have power over their bodies and that decisions about their bodies and intimacy are not their own. It seems crazy to think about this, especially if you are hearing this view of these circumstances for the first time, but the truth is NOBODY has the right or privilege to force our children to show them intimacy if the child is uncomfortable with it. Not even grandma. Not even mom or dad!

This is a separate issue from discipline and misbehavior. A child making a decision about other people touching, kissing, or hugging them is not a behavioral issue, it is a human rights issue. I am trying to say that a when a child is exercising her or his right to consent that it should not be deemed as a misbehavior and that if the child refuses to give or receive intimacy it should not be an offense, it should not be punishable, and it should not be looked down on.

I know I grew up feeling and thinking that grandparents deserved hugs and kisses, and even though I had no problem with showing my grandparents love in this way (at least not that I can remember), I still also remember feeling that I didn’t have a choice even if I didn’t want to hug and kiss them, and that it was expected from me. I’m not complaining, and I personally love giving affection to family and friends, (even other people I don’t know as well if they need a hug or a friendly pat on the back and if i know that both myself and the person are comfortable with that). I am just realizing what I want my children to learn more than anything and what I want them to use their whole lives: Their personal power and their rights as humans, most especially the right to consent and the right to feel however they want without other people negatively effecting their choices and emotions.

If you really love somebody and respect them than you wouldn’t force them to do things they are uncomfortable with or that they just don’t feel like doing. We can ask our children instead to just say “thank you” or to use some other verbal consideration appropriate to the situation, because really, that should be enough.

I don’t want to teach my children that to show love or respect to someone that they have to do things they don’t really want to do. The weird thing is that you see these types of situations everywhere, even in movies and TV shows. There will be a “funny” part in a movie where a young boy is dreading a kiss from his old smelly aunt or some other family member, and then is totally grossed out after they are forced or shamed into giving or receiving the dreaded hugs or kisses.

For example: It shouldn’t be considered rude to decline receiving a hug or kiss from your aunt Mildred, it should be considered rude for your aunt Mildred to expect or demand it from you no matter how you are feeling about it.

Every child is different, and you can’t say whether or not the child will learn the different social aspects of consent and the variables of sexual situations versus what our society thinks as normal “family or close friend” social interactions. You can’t say whether or not a child will internalize the idea that consent is not their own or anyone else’s and whether or not they will respect the words “no” or “stop” if they hear it from another person. It is completely possible that they might learn to feel uncomfortable verbalizing or become unable to verbally express their feelings concerning their personal consent and that they may find it harder to say “no” or “stop” to others. It is possible that the child will grow to completely understand when and where consent needs to be given and that they won’t have any issues with saying or hearing the word “no”.

It is also completely possible that we are setting up hurtful and damaging situations as extreme as rape and/or molestation. the reason this may be happening is because many of us might not be teaching our children from a very young age that only they have power over their own bodies, that only they can give consent to people touching, kissing, or hugging them, that they can not expect anything physical from others without having that person’s consent, and that the same goes for EVERY human being in ANY circumstance.

We have to show children that they are respected and loved starting with these seemingly small steps (not making them hug grandma or making them feel bad that they didn’t hug grandma for example), because ultimately they can make a big difference in our children’s lives and in our society as a whole. Children are people who have rights and feelings that need to be respected in all circumstances. It is our job to not only discipline our children and teach them right from wrong, but to empower them as people, and to help them flourish and thrive in order to live happy lives. One of the best ways we can do that is by teaching them the personal power and human right of consent.

5 Minutes Of What The Media Actually Does To Women

5 Minutes Of What The Media Actually Does To Women.

This is a transcript of the short video, please watch the movie and show it to everyone you know, especially to young girls.

Sometimes people say to me, “You’ve been talking about this for 40 years. Have things gotten any better?” And actually I have to say, really they’ve gotten worse. Ads sell more than products. They sell values. They sell images. They sell concepts of love and sexuality, of success and perhaps most important, of normalcy. To a great extent, they tell us who we are and who we should be.

Well what does advertising tell us about women? It tells us, as it always has, that what’s most important is how we look. So the first thing the advertisers do is surround us with the image of ideal female beauty. Women learn from a very early age that we must spend enormous amounts of time, energy, and above all money, striving to achieve this look and feeling ashamed and guilty when we fail. And failure is inevitable, because the ideal is based on absolute flawlessness. She never has any lines or wrinkles. She certainly has no scars or blemishes. Indeed, she has no pores.

And the most important aspect of this flawlessness is that it cannot be achieved. No one looks like this, including her. And this is the truth. No one looks like this. The supermodel Cindy Crawford once said, “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.” She doesn’t. She couldn’t, because this is a look that’s been created for years through airbrushing and cosmetics, but these days it’s done through the magic of computer retouching.

Keira Knightley is given a bigger bust. Jessica Alba is made smaller. Kelly Clarkson, well this is an interesting. . .it says, “Slim down your way,”
but she in fact slimmed down the Photoshop way. You almost never see a photograph of a woman considered beautiful that hasn’t been Photoshopped.

We all grow up in a culture in which women’s bodies are constantly turned into things, into objects. Here she’s become the bottle of Michelob. In this ad, she becomes part of a video game. And this is everywhere, in all kinds of advertising, women’s bodies turned into things, into objects. Now of course this affects female self-esteem. It also does something even more insidious. It creates a climate in which there’s widespread violence against women. I’m not at all saying that an ad like this directly causes violence. It’s not that simple. But turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person.

We see this with racism. We see it with homophobia. We see it with terrorism. It’s always the same process. The person is dehumanized, and violence then becomes inevitable. And that step is already and constantly taken with women. Women’s bodies are dismembered in ads, hacked apart. Just one part of the body is focused upon, which of course is the most dehumanizing thing you could do to someone. Everywhere we look, women’s bodies turned into things and often just parts of things.

And girls are getting the message these days so young, that they need to be impossibly beautiful, hot, sexy, extremely thin. And they also get the message that they’re going to fail, that there’s no way to really achieve it. Girls tend to feel fine about themselves when they’re eight, nine, ten years old, but they hit adolescence, and they hit a wall, and certainly part of this wall is this terrible emphasis on physical perfection.

So no wonder we have an epidemic of eating disorders, in our country and increasingly throughout the world. I’ve been talking about this for a very long time, and I keep thinking that the models can’t get any thinner, but they do. They get thinner and thinner and thinner. This is Anna Carolina Reston who died a year ago of anorexia, weighing 88 pounds. And at the time, she was still modeling. So the models literally cannot get any thinner. So Photoshop is brought to the rescue. There are exceptions, however. Kate Winslet has been outspoken about her refusal to allow Hollywood to dictate her weight. When British GQ Magazine published this photograph of Winslet, which was digitally enhanced to make her look dramatically thinner, she issued a statement that the alterations were made without her consent. And she said, “I don’t look like that, and more importantly, I don’t desire to look like that. I can tell you that they’ve reduced the size of my legs by about a third.” Bless her heart.

So what can we do about all of this? Well the first step is to become aware, to pay attention, and to recognize that this affects all of us. These are public health problems that I’m talking about. The obsession with thinness is a public health problem. The tyranny of the ideal image of beauty, violence against women, these are all public health problems that affect us all, and public health problems can only be solved by changing the environment.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

Breastfeeding and Weight Loss – Breastfeeding


Breastfeeding and Weight Loss

Weight loss is often an important issue for new mothers. Nursing mothers often hear how easy and rapid weight loss is a great benefit of breastfeeding. While this is true, sometimes after a few months, more of that pregnancy belly is still around than mothers would like. So is dieting safe while breastfeeding?

According to the third edition of the Breastfeeding Answer Book (LLLI), pages 446-448, women after the first two months, when milk is established, can safely lose weight in a gradual way. About a pound a week has not been shown to affect milk production or the growth of the baby. Exercise can also be added – one study indicated 45 minute workouts 4 times a week did increase weight loss with no affect to milk supply or baby weight. Nursing mothers should be sure to be aware of thirst, and drink water or water-based liquids (or milk, if the mother is a regular milk drinker already) whenever thirsty.

This can be accomplished by cutting about 100 calories per day and increasing activity level. In the same book, on page 437, the official recommendation of the Subcommittee on Nutrition during Lactation recommends a 2700 calorie diet but says that most nursing women realistically consume between 2200 and 2460. 1800 is the minimum level considered appropriate *if* the foods are of high nutritional value, as the recommendations are based on a standard American diet which consists of many processed (less nutritious) foods. A prenatal or multivitamin may be appropriate, especially with the lower calories and should be discussed with a health care provider.

Fad diets, liquid diets and rapid weight loss are NOT recommended, although fasts of less than a day have not been shown to affect milk supply. According to La Leche League\’s website (http://www.llli.org/FAQ/lowcarb.html), low carb diets or other diets that create rapid weight loss might not only affect milk supply, but also allow the release of environmental toxins, stored in body fat, to be released into the milk.

Further according to the Breastfeeding Answer Book, the diet of vegetarian mother that is otherwise healthy is not generally a concern. Many vegetarian diets still contain animal products in the form of dairy or eggs, which is more than sufficient. Those eating diets with NO animal protein, like vegan or macrobiotic diets should very carefully watch B12 levels in themselves and in the baby, and may discuss a B12 supplement with their health care provider. There are vegan B12 supplements available. Those not eating dairy products may also want to watch their calcium levels so as not to affect long-term bone density. In general, vegetarians may have lower levels of calcium, but the level in the milk does not seem to be affected. As a bonus, vegetarians also have lower levels of toxins and contaminants in their system thanks to an overall lower fat diet.

For women wanting assistance or personal guidance, commercial diet plans do offer appropriate and customized assistance for breastfeeding mothers. See my article on \”Breastfeeding and Commercial Diet Plans,\” linked below.

via Breastfeeding and Weight Loss – Breastfeeding.

Vera is Nine Months Old Today!

My sweet baby chubba wubba is 9 months old today! I have not updated about her in a while so I am using this post to talk about her sweet little self and her milestones.

Vera has two little teeth on her bottom gums which appeared at five months. So far there have been only a few signs that she might start teething again to get some more teeth, but we are in no hurry!

She started solid foods right before she turned six months old and she loooves food! She is interested in everything that everyone else is eating! She puts everything in her mouth and is obsessed with paper, unlike Elena who was obsessed with finding the tags on everything.

She loves music! She started “dancing” at six months by rocking back and forth whenever she hears music, so ADORABLE! She also has always sung herself to sleep and will start singing to music or when she hears someone sing!

She was crawling at 5 or six months!

She took her first steps at 7 months and was walking while holding my hand at that point. Her first steps were on December 8 right before she turned 8 months in a movie theater! We saw Frozen, but Vera was impatient with sitting, so she and I went to the back of the theater and she tok a few steps right in front of me! She seriously walks like a pro, even better than I remember Elena walking! She has incredible balance for such a young baby, she never ever falls unless she trips on a random carpet or object!.

She started calling me mama at six months! She calls for me a lot when she wants me or is looking for me! xoxoxo!

At 8 months she started doing little things like trying to brush her hair, motioning with her hands when she wants you to follow her, and bringing toys and objects to us and holding them up so she can show us what she has! She knows what we mean when we ask her to show us what she has. If I ask her to show me, or show daddy or grandma, she walks over to that person and holds up whatever object she has! SO cute!

to be continued…


Spicy butternut squash soup

Spicy butternut squash soup Posted on January 11, 2014 by sexycuisine

This soup is a twist to the ordinary butternut squash soup . The chilli give an extra kick while the coconut make it a little sweet and creamy . If you use low fat coconut coconut milk then it is a perfect healthy lunch or after work dinner as it can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days.

Spicy butternut squash soup Ingredients :

Serves 4:

*1 butternut squash*1 red onion*3 garlic cloves*1 chilli*1 tbsp of chopped lemongrass*1 tin of coconut milk*1 cube of vegetable stock*2 tsp of coconut oil

1.In a saucepan add the coconut oil or olive oil instead .

2.Peel and roughly chop the red onion and garlic then add to the pan . Cut the chilli in half , remove the seeds and add to the pan along with the lemongrass ,cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is golden brown.

3.Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds , cut in large chunks and add to the cooked ingredients.

4.Add the tin of coconut milk to the vegetables then fill the tin twice with water and add to the pan with the stock cube .

5.Cook for about 30 minutes , blend and season

via Spicy butternut squash soup.

Why Children Should Witness Breastfeeding in Public ~ Nursing Freedom


A child’s life is made up of moments. Children learn by observing and interacting with their world, and every moment adds up to form the basis for the values, beliefs, habits, and memories which will carry them into adulthood. This seems obvious, but what does it have to do with breastfeeding?

Well, what happens if children never witnesses breastfeeding? What if they spend their entire childhood seeing only bottle feeding, both in the media and among the people they interact with? What if a young girl or boy grows up surrounded by sexualized images of breasts but never, or only rarely, witnesses the normal, natural act of breastfeeding a baby? There are some fortunate children who witness their mother breastfeeding a younger sibling, but one look at the breastfeeding rates in the US today will tell you that they are likely not seeing the nursing relationship last for very long.

I am fortunate. My own experience with nursing in public has been wonderful, despite having never seen a woman breastfeed up close and in person until pregnant and attending an LLL meeting. My husband is supportive, I don’t work outside the home, and I have never been directly criticized or asked to cover up. My son is almost 18 months and still nurses quite frequently – some days more than when he was an infant! I nurse him in public anywhere and everywhere he wants to. I’ve noticed that as he’s growing older and finding his independence, he needs to come back to me when overwhelmed with his environment, to calm and center himself by nursing. This means that some days he tends to nurse in public more than he does at home. I can’t imagine what life would be like if I was uncomfortable with nursing in public. We have nursed at a wedding, a funeral, a graduation, birthday parties, on airplanes, trains, buses, subways, parks, playgrounds, museums, cafes, restaurants, even on amusement park rides. Everywhere I go, he goes, and so nursing goes.

Recently, we traveled to Scandinavia. In the three weeks we spent in Sweden and Denmark, I observed three women nursing babies, uncovered, at the table at restaurants, and many others nursing at parks and playgrounds. In my entire life living in the US, I can recall seeing only one woman nursing at a restaurant, and very few in other public places aside from breastfeeding gatherings and LLL meetings. The cultural contrast between Scandinavia and the US was incredible to take in, particularly in how I observed children reacting to the sight of breastfeeding. In Scandinavia, I never once saw a child or a child’s parents react with alarm, disgust, shame, or even slight concern when they witnessed myself or other women breastfeeding in public. On a train in Denmark, a group of 15+ teenage boys boarded while I was nursing my son. One sat right next to me and offered a kind smile. Another boy noticed and looked for a second but didn’t behave awkwardly at all. The rest likely glanced my way at some point (they were only a few feet away from me), but none acted like it was a big deal – probably because in Denmark, as well as in Sweden, breastfeeding rates are much better than in the US, and the sexualization of breasts is much less profound.

In contrast, here in the Northeast US, I have had several experiences with nursing around groups of pre-teen and teenage boys. What has happened every time was this: one boy noticed, and immediately a storm of whispers, giggles, double-takes, stares and/or shyly averted eyes commenced. “Her boob is out! Pass it on!” While somewhat amusing, it’s terribly sad. The reason these boys are so giddy and awkward around the sight of my nursing breast is likely because women’s breasts are viewed as almost strictly sexual in the United States. Nipples are powerful enough to trigger massive media uproar and federal investigation when exposed in a “family setting.” Yet we flaunt breasts during primetime television broadcasts. Breasts sell products and ideas, and are widely fetishized. I take no issue with breasts being sexual, but they also need to be seen as nurturing. I believe the view of breasts as solely sexual is one of the primary reasons that so many people seem to think breastfeeding should be done in private, and are against nursing in public, especially uncovered. Breasts are too powerful and too sexualized for many people – that view can trigger a sort of cognitive dissonance when witnessing a sex object being used by a child for nurturance and sustenance. When breasts are seen only in a sexual way, it’s no surprise that it could be confusing and disturbing to see a baby’s (or worse: a young child’s) head in the way of an observer’s mental sexual objectification. It’s time that our society re-conceptualizes breasts as both sexual and nurturing, and stops shaming women for using their breasts in either manner.

I believe that nursing in public is one of the best things a breastfeeding mother can do for society as a whole – not just to give her own child a healthy start, but to give other people’s children the opportunity to see mothering and nurturance at the breast as normal, healthy, and enjoyable. Nursing in public helps re-normalize breastfeeding as the biologically optimal means of feeding a baby, and of comforting and nurturing a toddler or young child who no longer needs breastmilk for nutrition. It is appalling to hear news stories or personal anecdotes about breastfeeding mothers being asked to cover up when they nurse around children not their own. The only real reason people ask a woman to hide breastfeeding when she’s around children is if the person doing the asking views breasts as sexual or the act of breastfeeding as too intimate for public view. Yet, breastfeeding is not at all sexual. Why do some people see breastfeeding in that light? Perhaps because they haven’t seen enoughbreastfeeding to internalize how normal and natural it is. To convey to children that they should not be witnessing breastfeeding makes it a taboo, a secret, something dirty or shameful that must be done in private – like using the bathroom or engaging in sexual activity, both of which are sometimes ignorantly equated with breastfeeding. Children who receive that message enough may grow up to be adults who don’t want to breastfeed, who have to overcome psychological hang-ups in order to breastfeed, who shame or scold women who do breastfeed, or who discourage friends and family members from breastfeeding. Those attitudes harm children and women and society as a whole.

One of the easiest ways to reach children is on an individual level, by simply being visible to them and engaging them, answering their questions if so presented. A young girl who saw me nursing my son when he was an infant looked on in pure astonishment and asked me “what are you doing to him?!” as though I was hurting my baby. I simply smiled and told her I was breastfeeding him, that this was how he ate. It seemed as though she had never before seen a woman nursing a baby prior to observing me. I hope that her interaction with me provided her with a positive memory, and hopefully a question or five to ask her parents. Imagine if she saw another woman nursing in public the next week and every week after that. Eventually, it would cease to be a source of astonishment for that little girl and would become just a simple fact of mothering.

To change our culture’s perception of nursing in public and improve social support of breastfeeding as a whole, we need to start with children. We need to make nursing in public so boring, so quotidian, that it garners no more of a glance or second thought than seeing someone drinking a coffee or hugging a friend in public. We need to allow and encourage children of all ages to regularly and repeatedly witness the beautiful and natural act of breastfeeding, so they will grow up thinking nothing much of it, simply expecting it to be a part of their own parenting lives.

“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.” – Albert Einstein

Miscarriage risk? | Birth & Baby Network

There is a report in today’s Telegraph with the headline: Pregnant women warned of 80 per cent increased risk of miscarriage from food heated in plastic.

New findings from Stanford University, presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s annual conference in Boston, suggest that high levels of contact with the chemical found in many plastics could dramatically increase the likelihood of miscarriage.

Researchers stated that “it is impossible to avoid all contact with the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), which is used in plastic packaging, tinned products and cash register receipts, but recommending limiting the impact of exposure.”

The main points of the research are:

pregnant women are advised to avoid cooking or warming foods in plastic containers, as chemicals leak far more quickly at higher temperatures, and to avoid letting plastic bottles of drinks get warm in the sun.

one of the most important things to avoid was drinking from plastic bottles which had been allowed to get warm. Studies show that levels of BPA increase by about 1000-fold in the water of a bottle that has been sitting in the sun.

the same advice was issued to men whose partners are trying to conceive, after separate research found that the presence of similar chemicals found in the same plastics appeared to reduce male fertility by 20 per cent.

This is a new study on 114 pregnant women, which found that those with the high concentrations of the compound in their blood were 80 per cent more likely than those with low or normal levels to suffer a miscarriage.

Earlier this year the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists issued advice that pregnant women should “play it safe” and try to limit exposure to many chemicals found in plastics, because they said it would take years to properly assess the risks of exposure.

According the Telegraph’s article, the Miscarriage Association said the study was too small to draw definite conclusions, and that more research was needed.

My thoughts are that pregnant women want to do the best for their baby and if that means minimising any risks from packaging then they will probably do it. Yes, more research is needed but ditching processed food to make way for better food and more fresh fruit and veg has got to be a good thing!

What do you think?

via Miscarriage risk? | Birth & Baby Network.