Girl Scouts tells families not to make daughters hug relatives during holiday season

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- In a new blog post under the section “how to raise a happy girl,” the Girl Scouts of America sound the alarm this Thanksgiving with an entry titled, “Reminder: She Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Hug. Not Even at the Holidays.”

Girl Scouts leaders said they want to teach girls to decide on their own who could touch them. Girls, Inc. director Lisa Moore agreed with the sentiment.

“We want children to know they have rights, they are in control of their bodies and no one else has power over that," Moore said.

She said the message was part of a bigger movement to empower girls against sexual harassment. But Moore cautioned that empowering girls wouldn't fix what’s become a clear societal problem with men.

"If we want to get to the root of sexual misconduct, we have to deal with the root which is the perpetrator not the victim," she said.

Sel Orndorff agreed.

“We need to teach young people about consent not just our young female identified people and also young boys and male identified because the sooner they learn consent, better off it’ll be for everybody,” Orndorff said.

But others said the message went too far.

“It’s a parent issue. You can’t tell kids who to love or what they do in their own family. Its not right,” Aaron Walker said.

The Girl Scouts released the following statement to WREG about the blog post:

"Girl Scouts of the USA offers advice to girls’ parents and families (including those of current Girl Scouts) on how to talk to their daughters about issues in the larger world that they hear about or that directly affect them. Given our expertise in healthy relationship development for girls, and in light of recent news stories about sexual harassment, we are proud to provide girls’ parents and caregivers with age-appropriate guidance to use when discussing this sensitive matter and other challenging topics, should they wish to do so. Obviously, our advice will not apply in all situations, and we recognize that parents and caregivers are in the best position to judge which conversations they should have with their girls."