Why This Mom Never Holds Her Baby Without His Permission

Nisha Moodley instagram
nishamoodley/Instagram

Parents are notorious for grabbing their children's cheeks and squishy tushies as they lean in for kiss after kiss (after kiss). And while most of us wouldn't dare think twice about taking some extra snuggle time, one mom says she does just the opposite with her son. Nisha Moodley isn't afraid to admit she asks her baby's permission before she holds him, and her reasoning might change your views about boundaries.

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Moodley's now-viral Instagram post about respecting her 6-month-old son Raven's body might seem extreme to some moms and dads, but it comes with a powerful message:

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"Since the moment he was born, we've always asked before we pick him up. 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."

Nisha Moodley with baby son
nishamoodley/Instagram

Moodley also says the same rules should apply for friends and family eager to get their hands on a cuddly baby that's not their own -- something moms and dads will likely applaud given how many people don't seem to know or care about the concept of boundaries.

"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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Since sharing her stance on Instagram, Moodley's post has been met with mixed reactions. Some people totally agree with her and applauded her for having such tremendous respect for her son's boundaries.

But others think the idea of waiting for a 6-month-old to grant "permission" to hold him is totally ridiculous, and they didn't hold back on sharing their opinions.

"Why pick up your child when he/she hasn't asked for it!?" one clearly sarcastic Instagram user wrote in the comments of her post. "Such an amazing idea (especially since we know how verbal babies are!). I don't know how my girls survived babyhood with me picking them up ALL the time!"

"Ohhhhh f******ck offffffff with this liberal horse-sh*tttttt," another commenter angrily snapped. 

"[It] does sound like they've all lost their friggin minds ..." another commenter wrote of Nisha and those who support her. "God help them when these cute little babies become teenagers."

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Moodley tells Yahoo! she believes seeking Raven's permission to be touched or held will teach him about consent and prevent him from becoming "a sexual predator or a victim of one."

"I also want him to pay attention to his instincts, and forcing physical touch could interfere with that," Moodley adds.

Okay, so maybe your mind doesn't immediately go to thoughts of your child's becoming a sexual predator if you hug him or her without permission -- but as unorthodox as asking little ones for permission to cuddle might sound, Nisha's intentions definitely come from a good place. She wants her son to grow up feeling in control of his body -- and of who gets to touch him -- and that's a goal every parent should have, regardless of how different our approaches may be.

Children don't often have a say in what they do, but at some point, they need to know that saying "no" is, in fact, okay. Whether you agree with Nisha's approach or not, her post is definitely food for thought as we continue to navigate raising our kids to be open to love and affection while still feeling in control of their bodies.

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