Why This Mom Always Asks Permission Before Picking Up Her Son

"As far as I'm concerned, this is the beginning of a lifelong conversation about freedom, autonomy, and respect."

Young kids are often picked up without a second thought, told to give family members hugs, and have their cheek's squeezed without warning. But this mom is taking a different approach with her child. 

Nisha Moodley, a San Francisco-based leadership coach for women, hopes to teach her son Raven personal boundaries early in life. In an Instagram post, she detailed how she and her husband have gone about this lesson. 

"Since the moment he was born, we've always asked before we pick him up," she wrote. "I always feel for his 'yes.' Why? Because we want him to know that his body is his, and that others' bodies are theirs, and no one gets to make choices about someone else's body." 


While her son is still very young, Moodley tries to interpret his body language to ensure he's comfortable. She says that one sign is when he reaches his arms out for her, and one sign he'd prefer she didn't is when he turns his head or body away from her after she asks. 

"I actually do not believe that my son should be given a choice about everything. He will be expected to eat vegetables and not kick the dog," she wrote in a comment on the Instagram post. "I am more so for choice when it comes to his BODY. Will I yank my kid away from running into the street? Absolutely. Will I pick him up if he's having a meltdown in the supermarket? Yes. But I WILL allow him to not hug so-and-so if he doesn't want to, and I will NOT allow him to hit other kids. Those are their bodies, not his." 

Moodley's post has over 600 likes since it was posted last week and many people have voiced support for her parenting choice in the comments. She hopes this method will teach Raven to respect other people's bodies and "prevent a culture of 'taking' what we want, just because we want it." 

"As far as I'm concerned, this is the beginning of a lifelong conversation about freedom, autonomy, and respect," she wrote. 

And, for anyone who's wondering how they too can help teach kids this lesson and respect their personal space, Moodley has some advice. "If you ever want to hold someone else's baby, my suggestion is to ask the parent, then ask the kid. It always touches my heart when someone takes a moment to connect with him and says, 'Can I hold you, dude?' "


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