There aren't any free hugs, grandma and grandpa

There aren’t any free hugs, grandma and grandpa. You’ve got to earn them.

Free Hugs !! Says who?

I have been lucky enough to learn this lesson quite early, “Nothing comes free” and “There are no free goodies in this world.” My parents made me earn everything that I wanted – a cycle, a holiday, a shopping trip. But, what goes around, comes around. And I am glad that its time for them to walk the rope, they taught me to walk on.

No, I am not that mean, if your imagination is taking you elsewhere. I just try to ensure that they walk the talk when it comes to their grandkids, too. Tables turned.

So now when they want a hug or a kissy from my little one, it’s my turn to say, ‘There are no free hugs in the world.’ Yes, grandparents love to hug, kiss and shower their affection on their grandkids. Every time I visit my parents or we have them over, all they want is this. A long affectionate hug from the cute little cuddly munchkin.

So whenever they say, “Give grandma or grandpa a hug”, all I do is nothing. I let my child decide for himself if he wants to be generous with the hug. But what I do ensure is, that there are no forced hugs, period.

What comes next, are some irresistible toys. ‘Is that a bribe?’, but ‘Honesty is the best policy, Isn’t it Mumma Papa?’ So I ensure that the incentive doesn’t add to the widespread all-prevailing corruption, ever.

‘You can take the toy and play, but there is no compulsion to hug’, I always explain to the little one.

Yes. The child doesn’t owe a hug to anyone who brings him a toy, candy or even a big red mickey mouse, period.

And goes a day or two. Alas.

But what’s happened in those two days is something I really wanted to. The baby has lowered his walls a bit. The grandparents are making some efforts to gel. And all of a sudden, I am taken aback.

What gradually happens, is some surprise.

The child goes and sits in his granny’s lap, showing her some of his precious toys. He goes to grandpa to hold his hand and gives a series of commands, next.

  • ‘Godi’ or ‘Take me in your lap.
  • He points to the door, and says, ‘Baahar’ or ‘Take me out’
  • He points to the ball and plays with Grandpa.

And come the next day, ‘All wishes are granted.’  Yes, there’s finally no dearth of hugs and kisses. It’s all smiles and joy when my parents finally earned their well-deserved hugs.

But, you see, ‘There are no free hugs, at all.’

No, there isn’t a currency to buy them, either. And, what I do not allow is barter and exchange system. Because, you can’t exchange toys, candies or anything in the world, for a precious affectionate hug.

What it takes is nothing but unadulterated, unfiltered and unlimited love. Pure and unconditional. Children are smart enough to feel the care and love that comes their way. Yes, it does take time and genuine effort. But a free hug, taken forcefully, is not good for the child. It is important for the child to understand body autonomy and consent. What better way to teach these important things, than, in simple ways like this.

So, let’s nurture our kids and earn those hugs. And even if your child is a mini Sheldon Cooper, we ought to respect the genius’ autonomy. Right?

Children are keen observers, and they imitate and absorb what they see. And this is exactly why, ever since my child has started to understand ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, I often take my toddler’s permission before taking a hug or giving a peck on his cheek.

‘Baby, Can Mumma take a hug please?’

But, always remember, a no means a NO, even when a child says it. So, I always refrain from stealing a hug, forcefully.

Well, coming back to the grandparents. This episode repeated itself every time until my child turned 2 or 2.5

But, now he remembers his grandparents and the way they make him feel. He looks forward to seeing them.

Indeed, love finds its way.

4 thoughts on “There aren’t any free hugs, grandma and grandpa. You’ve got to earn them.”

  1. You are fabulous and so are the blogs..they are so fresh and so true.. grandparents are definitely a guiding force in the child’s life and they give utmost love and care but at times they are too prompt in availing their rights for the grand child but conveniently back off when it comes to responsibilities…So true that you even need to earn a hug from your child..
    Always look forward to more of your thoughts..they are so very relatable.. keep up the good work dear..

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