When kids are uncomfortable or feel threatened, they sometimes act out in a variety of ways. Many times, parents get alarmed when these things occur and look to punish or reprimand their child for doing something they disagree with. However, there are other times when parents decide they don’t need or want to punish their child for a specific behavior.
Recently, one mother wrote into Reddit asking for advice after her daughter bit her mother-in-law.
Unsplash | Chewy
The mom, who is new to Reddit, simply was looking for advice if she was wrong for her reaction to the situation.
“This [happened] last year but is still an issue so my friend recommended I put it on here so I could get an unbiased opinion,” she wrote.
The mom wrote that they were at a family gathering on her husband’s side when the incident occurred.
Unsplash | Carly Kewley
The mom said her six-year-old daughter is a very sweet child but doesn’t really love physical affection.
“She will tolerate hugging some close family members but will refuse to hug or kiss anyone else if she doesn’t want to. Both me and my husband are fine with this and don’t force her to if it makes her uncomfortable,” she said.
Her mother-in-law was going around kissing and hugging the grandchildren, but her daughter didn’t want to.
Unsplash | Joanna Kosinska
“At the gathering my MIL was going around hugging all the children and then giving them some money or candy. When she came over to my daughter and tried to kiss her cheek. My daughter backed off and told her no,” she wrote.
Her mother-in-law tried to threaten her daughter with depriving her of candy, but it didn’t really work.
Unsplash | Christiana Rivers
“MIL said if she wouldn’t hug her then she wasn’t allowed [any] candy. My daughter said she didn’t care and walked off. I thought that was the end of it,” she said.
Then, things took a turn for the worse.
Unsplash | milan degraeve
“About an hour later we hear someone screaming from the other room and we run in there and see MIL with blood running down her nose and my daughter with blood dripping out her mouth,” she added.
The mom panicked at first, thinking her daughter was the one who was hurt.
Unsplash | Marco Albuquerque
“At first I was so shocked I didn’t realise what had happened and I thought that my daughter had been injured so I immediately took her to the bathroom to see what was wrong and clean her up when I found no marks or cuts just a bloody mouth I asked what happened,” she said.
Apparently, MIL had told her granddaughter if she doesn’t hug her, she is a terrible grandchild.
Unsplash | Anton Darius
“Apparently MIL had been following her around telling her she had to hug her or she was [a] terrible grandchild. She eventually cornered her in another room and forcefully hugged her which is where my daughter bit MIL nose,” she wrote.
Her daughter was extremely traumatized and felt “evil” for what she had done.
Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema
The mom said she told her daughter she did “nothing wrong” and had a conversation about self-defense. Meanwhile, her husband’s side of the family has been “harassing them” for what has happened.
She wanted to know if there was something that she could do, or if she was wrong in her reaction to her daughter and MIL.
Many people in the Reddit community applauded the six-year-old for knowing her limits and practicing her right to consent.
Unsplash | Paweł Czerwiński
“Your kid followed her instinct. It doesn’t get better than that. It’s our best guidance for life. It’s never a good idea to encourage kids to hug anyone unless they want to. Our body — our decision. Period,” one person wrote.
“I am so proud of your kid. She’s six and she already handles sexual harassment like a pro,” another added.
Many added that her MIL should have backed off when her granddaughter said no.
Unsplash | Nadine Shaabana
“I’m so proud of your kid.
“Secondly, no means no, it doesn’t matter that she’s only 6. Maybe tell your daughter to come to you directly if something should happen like this again. Tell those family members who have their panties in a wad that you are raising [a] child who understands she is absolutely able to tell people no when it comes to her body. If you tell her she has to let family do what they want… that’s a dangerous game,” someone wrote.
People said that children are taught to defend themselves when they’re in danger — even when it comes to family.
Unsplash | Ratiu Bia
“I believe when a child feels in danger, they should know all rules go [out] the window, they can scream, kick, bite, or whatever must be done. And that includes with FaMiLyYy [sic] .
“You both should be proud of your daughter and how well you have taught her. And MIL should be apologizing for harassing, and cornering a child when said child said NO. Not to mention forcing a child to [give] physical affection for candy as payment,” one user said.
However, some users wondered if there could be a solution where there was no physical contact in the future.
Unsplash | Jordan Whitt
“I’m torn. I hate that [grandma] refused to accept no for an answer, she certainly deserved some kind of correction. I don’t know that I like biting as an answer but I can see how the little [one] felt she had no other recourse too,” another user added.
A number of users also shared their own stories of being in similar situations as children.
Unsplash | Eric Ward
A number of users shared stories of how they also had family members who would “force” hugs. These users said the experiences lead to some sad and scary situations, and that it took them many years to feel confident to exercise their right to consent.
Overall, most Reddit users agreed that the little girl acted in self-defense and the situation sparked a discussion in teaching children consent.
Unsplash | Artyom Kabajev
“Wow. Your MIL doesn’t understand consent at all. Every person who is telling you you’re an AH or calling your LO a vicious monster needs to get their [sh**] straight. I mean, would it be okay for a grown woman or man to chase around another grown woman or man demanding physical affection for benefits? No,” one user said.
What do you think? Was this MIL out of line?