You are reading too much into the question. I don’t have an agenda or an axe to grind about this parenting strategy. I’d like to learn whether it works. My reasons for wanting to know are my own.
It’s interesting that you think I have a premise. I don’t. I’m seeking information. Either it exists or it doesn’t. You, on the other hand, seem to be trying to force your premise on the thread.
There is no assumption in my post. There are plenty of valid approaches to parenting that lack scientific support. I’d say most parenting decisions are made in a vacuum. I’d like to know whether this is one decision that parents are making because it has support or if it just sounds nice.
I don’t have an agenda. Your militance on this issue makes me think you have an agenda.
For what it’s worth, I am sincerely curious about where this strategy came from and whether it works, for any reasonable definition of working. You can’t seem to contemplate whether there would be any reason not to employ this strategy. Here are a few potentially deleterious effects from this particular child-rearing philosophy:
Perhaps kids that young can’t make the complex connection between a parent helping them enforce their right to bodily autonomy around hugging and kissing with a broader concept of self-guided bodily autonomy that relies on their own ability to stand up for themselves in higher pressure situations. Perhaps they can’t make the connection between public displays of affection with relatives and private abuse by manipulative abusers. So they learn narrowly that their parents won’t make them kiss people they don’t want to kiss but they miss that when their parents aren’t around and they are subject to pressure from manipulative older kids adults who want to touch their private parts that they have the same right and ability to say no when others aren’t going to back them up.
I wonder whether this leads to worse outcomes for kids who are abused notwithstanding this upbringing. This strategy creates the expectation that the kid will play an active role in preventing abuse. If the kid fails to do so at a critical time because they lack the courage or the emotional maturity, will they feel worse about themselves because of what happens? If they feel that their behavior in failing to say no at the appropriate time is embarrassing, will they be less likely to tell their parents about abuse?
Parents who think this works even if it doesn’t might be missing other strategies that work better. Perhaps the better strategy is to just directly talk to children about not allowing other people to touch their private parts, that people should not touch them in intimate ways without their consent, that they are always free to talk with their parents about people who touch their parts or try to touch their parts, that they should not keep secrets that an abuser might ask them to keep, that the child will be heard and believed about abuse, and that their parents will still love them because an abuser cannot interfere with the way their parents love them. But if parents believe, in the absence of evidence, that this strategy is the key one to keeping their kids safe from abuse and promoting healthy relationships later in life, they might not focus their child rearing strategies on the most effective things.
Of course, these strategies aren’t mutually exclusive. Every parent wants to do everything for their kids and teach them every desirable value all the time. But some lessons are going to be emphasized at the expense of others and some might contradict others.
And there might be downsides to this strategy. What if the kid decides to hug cousin Sal, cousin Hal, and cousin Val, but not cousin Jill because she has burns on her face and is in a wheelchair? Should a kid learn that his own preferences come first without any regards to the feelings of others?
You have repeatedly guessed my motivation. You’ve been wrong each time but that has neither stopped you nor contributed much to the original thread.
For what it’s worth, I asked that the thread be moved to Great Debates because people seem to want to debate the strategy more than find out whether it works.
If you want my personal opinion of this strategy, I think it makes sense and I think kids should probably be raised without being forced to hug and kiss people they don’t want to hug and kiss. It’s contrary to how I was raised where I was expected to show affection to an extended family I didn’t see regularly. I’m sure my parents thought showing affection was an important part of building relationships with my mother’s side of the family that was so enormously huge that we couldn’t hope to see them all regularly. But I’d feel more confident about my opinion if there were studies or information about whether teaching kids about bodily autonomy when they are toddlers and pre-schoolers has an effect.
My first post asked about sexual abuse broadly, not just among children. It also asked about whether it led to better adult relationships. It asked about rates of depression in older kids. And whether it had any positive effects. There was no indication that I was interested only in effects related to child sexual abuse. When asked to describe an ethical study, the study I described imagined a follow-up period of decades explicitly because I am not interested solely in the effects that end at age three.
Here’s the nut of my thread: I don’t know the first fucking thing about how to research child rearing strategies. Some people here my be experts and can help me learn something. Instead of helping me learn something, people question my motives while offering no useful information. If we were in the Pit, I’d have some closing words.