Respect the “No”

Our twins are beautiful girls.

I say this not out of a father’s pride or ego, but of fatigue. We can’t go more than 10 feet without someone talking about how beautiful they are. As parents we barely exist when people are exposed to their fucking awesome cuteness.

This also means that these same adults want to touch, cuddle, hug, kiss, grab, nuzzle, and play with the hair of our girls. Whether the girls are interested in it or not.

To that I say, “Fuck that noise.

One of the things that we as parents have chosen is to give the girls power behind their decision whether to let adults touch them. We let them exercise their consent. If they say “no to an adult, we back them up.

It’s a lot harder to do than it sounds. As a culture, we treat children as community property. They’re told they’re being difficult if they don’t want to hug Uncle or Auntie Such and Such. Kids are supposed to be cute and cuddly and available to anyone and everyone “ including their own parents.

I fully admit it was difficult for me to let them have that personal space. It stings to have your own child say “no when you ask for a hug. However, if we are going to teach them the power behind owning their own bodies, and the power behind consent, I’ve got to respect their “no just like everybody else does. I want to set that foundation now so they can use it as they navigate their way though growing up.

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