Mum brands tickling children 'harmful' as parenting expert says 'there should be boundaries'

23 October 2020, 11:08 | Updated: 23 October 2020, 11:26

A parenting expert has said 'there needs to be boundaries' when tickling children
A parenting expert has said 'there needs to be boundaries' when tickling children. Picture: Getty Images

A debate has started over whether it is 'harmful' to tickle children.

A mum has said tickling children needs to stop after she branded it ‘harmful’.

The Australian woman named Sandra Miller explained her thoughts on Mom.com, where she even went as far to call it ‘torture’.

She wrote: "In its most aggressive form, tickling is a form of torture.

"To call it anything else is ignoring the science that shows, in most cases, the person being aggressively tickled is not having fun at all.”

The mum said it’s ‘easy to cross the line from playful to hurtful’ and she would never allow an adult to tickle her daughter.

A woman has said tickling is 'harmful'
A woman has said tickling is 'harmful'. Picture: Getty Images

Sandra concluded: “Ask your own children how they feel about it. Chances are they don’t like to feel physically out of control while some bigger person pokes and prods them against their will. "

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And now an expert has explained how tickling can make young children feel ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘on edge’.

Speaking to us at Heart.co.uk, Mariyah Hafesji, Parenting Expert at Kiddies Kingdom, said: “Tickling is a form of touch that is often done in a light-hearted and playful nature.

“Often coupled with laughter and fun, many people naturally deem tickling as socially acceptable however, engaging in this way can sometimes be carried too far and can make children feel uncomfortable or on edge.”

She went on to advise that while tickling shouldn’t necessarily be avoided, adults ‘should try to introduce boundaries’ to teach children body autonomy.

“As a play that puts people in touch with each other, it’s important for children to feel like they have physical boundaries,” she said.

“Adults can do this through asking whether children want to participate in a tickling game, giving them the opportunity to opt out if they wish.

“It is also advised to consider a safe word or signal that can be used in the moment which means the tickling needs to be stopped."

Mariyah explained that in the early stages of development, a child needs to learn they have the right to say no to other people invading their space.

She added: “Parents should trust their child’s views and if they express that they feel uncomfortable in certain situations, be willing to intervene on your child’s behalf and act as an advocate.

“Gentle tickling can be an acceptable form of play for parents, family and children, but it’s important to follow guidelines, making sure the child feels comfortable, in control of their body and more importantly, enjoying themselves.”

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