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Woman Called ‘Bad Mom’ For Refusing To Let Mother-In-Law Hug Her Kids Without Their Consent

Photo by Joseph Cha/Unsplash

Touching is an issue.

In any way, shape or form.

So we have to be careful.

But sometimes a hug… is just a hug.

Case in point…

Redditor wanted to discuss her story for some feedback. So naturally she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

She asked:

“AITA for blowing up on MIL when she told my kids that she won’t hug them because my rule is dumb?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“M[other] I[n] L[aw] is something of a nightmare.”

“9 years ago when I got pregnant with my oldest, I told the family that we planned on emphasizing consent.”

“So they needed to ask permission before any hugs or kisses (when the child was old enough obviously).”

“MIL didn’t like this at all.”

“She called me crazy and a bad mom, but agreed she would respect it.”

“But said she would never touch them because she isn’t going to beg for love.”

“I thought she would come around, but she hasn’t.”

“We had a candid talk a few years back and she swears she isn’t trying to be passive aggressive.”

“But F[ather] I[n] L[aw] is the only person she actually wants to touch anyway and the idea of asking makes her so uncomfortable, she just can’t.”

“My kids are 9 and 6 and MIL has never once touched them.”

“Even when I asked if she wanted to hold them as babies, the answer was always no.”

“We had a family gathering recently and someone made a comment about MIL hating hugs.”

“She said that she didn’t and she has nothing against my kids but she isn’t going to hug them because of my stupid rule.”

“I was pretty upset that she said that right in front of my kids.”

“I feel that you never undermine someone’s parenting like that.”

“I asked to see her in private and told her just that.”

“MIL said I’m ridiculous and she was just being honest that she doesn’t agree with the rule and she has a right to her opinion.”

“I snapped at her that they aren’t her kids and she gets no say.”

“MIL said I should just leave then and she isn’t sure why we continue to talk to her or bring them to her house.”

“I called her a selfish witch and said all she has to do is ask and I’m sure the kids would hug her.”

“She just rolled her eyes and walked off.”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.

It’s a tricky situation.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“NTA.  Literally it isn’t a weird rule.”

“Hey Connor, can Grandma get a hug?”


“Okay, you let me know if you want one later! Love you!”

“People routinely dehumanize children by deciding that we must have unfettered access to their affections on our terms.”

“Then we wonder why they don’t voice things and build resentment.”

“Unfettered access means they’ll feel uncomfortable setting boundaries with not just family, but others.”

“Teaching kids that they owe others physical affection and are rude if they don’t give it is a massive problem.”

“I have this rule and it’s never been a problem.”

“Sometimes my oldest doesn’t even outright say no, but doesn’t say yes.”

“My Mom immediately says ‘That’s okay! I love you’ and they have such a good relationship.”  ~t rxsxrms09

“I have this rule too.”

“My dad used to get upset that my older son didn’t want to hug Grandpoppy, but I explained to my dad that I wasn’t going to force my kid to hug or kiss anyone he didn’t want to.”

“I asked my son (who was 4 at the time) if he wanted to do handshakes or high fives instead, and so they did those instead for a while.”

“He got huggier with grandpoppy eventually, but it was his choice.”

“My son is 8 now and was diagnosed with autism last year, so that might have been part of it too.”

“I’m raising my sons to be good men, and I think teaching healthy boundaries and consent are part of that.”

“I also think OP’s MIL is a freaking nightmare.”

“She’s so terrified of being told no that she’s never hugged her own grandchildren.”

“What a sad, insecure woman she must be. OP is NTA.”  ~ resilientspirit

“ESH. I want to be clear, you don’t suck for the rule, you suck for trying to make others behave how you want.”

“I 100000% agree with teaching consent.”

“And for that, I applaud you in teaching it to your children.”

“BUT you need to learn consent is a two way street.”

“And whatever MIL’s reasons are, no matter how spiteful or petty they are, they are her reasons, and she has a right to them.”

“As my therapist once told me, boundaries are not there to change the behaviour of others, they are there to keep you (and your kids) safe.”

“She is respecting your boundaries.”

“She’s just not doing it in a way that you agree with.”

“And in the end, it’s going to cost her an amazing relationship with her grandchildren.”

“And that’s her decision.”

“Use this opportunity to talk with your kids about how consent goes both ways.”

“When my husband and I are mad at each other, one of us will ask if the other is up for a hug.”

“Sometimes the answer is no, and when that person does feel like it, sometimes the other doesn’t anymore.”

“We both know and understand that we have to wait for the other to be ready, and it might take some time.”

“Let your kids know that they can always ask her for a hug if they want, and she might say no.” ~Legitimate-Chart-289

“She is respecting OP’s boundaries, but she’s being an a**hole about it.”

“Respecting boundaries graciously would involve not commenting on it publicly in a resentful way, and not calling the boundary ‘stupid.'”

“Furthermore, she is being spiteful and petty, and while OP can’t force her to not be that, she absolutely can give her feedback that this is frustrating and unfair.”

“Because it is.”

“I think you took what your therapist was trying to tell you the wrong way.”

“‘Respecting my boundaries’ is a separate topic from ‘I am frustrated by your behavior.'”

“Both are acceptable to say, but the issue happens when they become conflated.”

“And in both cases, you can’t demand behavior, you first request change, and then just remove yourself if someone is doing something you can’t tolerate.”  ~ burnalicious111

“Grandma: I don’t want to hug my grandkids.”


“Grandma: I can’t hug my grandkids because their mom says consent is required for touching and affection, and she’s wrong.”

“Grandkids, we could hug and have a nice relationship if only your mom wasn’t so mean and teaching you something so wrong.”

“You should always give people any affection they want.”

“WAY out of line. NTA.”  ~ JuliaX1984

“NTA.  She isn’t respecting the rule, she’s weaponizing it.”

“By refusing to hold your child as a baby, and then continuing to refuse to hug them as they grow because she doesn’t want to ask, is an a**hole move.”

“Your children owe no-one a physical touch if they don’t want too, and that includes parents and grand parents.”

“Your MIL took this way to personally and became petty about it.”

“I’d quit bringing the kids around her before she says some harmful shit to them and makes it worse.”

“Edit: MIL doesn’t have to hug the kids if she doesn’t want to nor does she have to be touched.”

“Of course consent is a 2 way street, but she’s behaving like a petulant child being told what no to do, instead of respecting her grandchildren boundaries.”

“I guarantee if she asked for a hug, she’d get one.”

“But she doesn’t want one, so it’s all a moot point.”  ~ Emmiburr

“As someone who was forced to give hugs and kisses to relatives even tho I HATED it and my mother knew that 100% NTA.”

“But I do agree with your MIL.”

“I’m not sure why you continue to talk to her or bring them around her house.”

“It’s okay to cut out toxic family members.”

“If you can’t come up with a reason why you want to see someone, maybe you shouldn’t be seeing them.”  ~ MrRogersAE

“NTA – thank you for teaching your kids that their autonomy and consent matters.”

“My parents and extended family always considered it a requirement to hug and kiss relatives when entering and exiting an event regardless of if we felt uncomfortable, because refusing was seen as a huge insult to the family member.”

“I don’t blame them at all because they were just acting in the way they thought was best, but it did have lasting negative consequences.”

“When one of the uncles started acting inappropriately, I was too scared of causing offense to stand up for myself and wasn’t able to differentiate the line between good and bad touches.”

“Keep the boundary and honestly consider cutting off MIL if she’s going to publicly tell your children that their boundaries around touch are ‘your moms stupid rule.'” ~ MelodicCarpenter7

OP has Reddit agreeing.

But there is a lot to discuss here.

Hugs are free. With consent.