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During the holidays, pediatricians remind parents: Don't force kids to hug and kiss relatives

The holiday season is in full swing. Many are lighting the sixth Hannukah candle tonight; Christmas and Kwanzaa are a few days away. For many 2022 marks a return to in-person celebrations, and for some young children it will be their first encounter with extended family members.

Many developmental pediatricians are reminding parents to reconsider that age-old tradition of forcing kids to hug or kiss friends and family members. The Girl Scouts published their own warning, an article titled “Reminder: she doesn’t owe anyone a hug. Not even at the holidays.”

Here & Now‘s Robin Young spoke to New York pediatrician Jack Levine, who specializes in developmental pediatrics, before the pandemic to talk about the pitfalls of forced affection.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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