Middle School Principal Bans Hugging

Family Matters on 03.23.12
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The principal of the Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School in New Jersey has banned the more than 900 11 to 14-year-old students at his school from hugging. Principal Tyler Blackmore has the support of the district superintendent David Healy after there were some "incidents of unsuitable, physical interactions" at the school, and the two believe they are teaching children about appropriate interactionsT with each other. But to me, it seems like they are actually teaching the opposite and possibly creating a worse environment for these kids.

There is no doubt that kids in this age group are certainly starting to explore the opposite gender and that there probably have been incidents that were inappropriate, however, banning hugging altogether is not going to solve the problem. Teaching kids what is appropriate and allowing them to practice appropriate behavior is what is going to benefit them. It's really no different than teaching them about any other appropriate behavior. I wouldn't tell my child they could never speak to an adult again because they once spoke to an adult inappropriately. I would teach them the proper way to do address an adult and then put them in a situation where they could practice the good behavior.

While these kids are maybe getting a little too close for comfort, there should be nothing wrong with a friend giving another friend a hug if they got a bad grade or if they want to celebrate a good one. How about a happy birthday hug or a great game hug? It is human nature to want to hug someone. And not only that, but it is hugely beneficial to people to get hugs throughout the day. A report on Care2.com says that babies don't thrive unless they are held regularly and research supports that the emotional well-being of a person is largely impacted by the amount of physical love (and it doesn't have to be sexual) that they experience each day. The report also states that as children approach adolescent years, their parents are more likely to stop hugging them on a regular basis. This is all the more reason why it is important for friends to be able to give each other hugs. Many of these kids probably aren't getting them at home.

Indeed, I think this is a horrible idea, however, I'm happy to say that superintendent Healy also claims that no one will be suspended if they are caught hugging, at least unless it's in an appropriate manner. If I were those kids, I'd be organizing a hug-in right now.

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