A British mother's Facebook post went viral for reminding parents to protect their children's boundaries, especially when it comes to interacting with others.
In a now deleted post, Nicole Bescoby, of Greater Manchester, shared that a stranger had tried to talk to her daughter Ellie while riding a bus.
"I looked at him and I saw all the times people had ignored my discomfort," she wrote, according to Today. "From grandparents demanding hugs, aunties chasing me to 'pinch a kiss,' being tickled until I couldn’t breathe and it was a long way from fun. Family friends demanding I speak to them. Strangers demanding I be civil, all because it suited them."
To divert attention away from Ellie, Bescoby said she tried to make small talk with the man, but he reportedly continued to ask her daughter questions. Noticing Ellie's uneasiness, Bescoby then turned to her to share some words of advice.
"I told her, 'Sweetie, you do not have to speak to this person,'" Bescoby told Today in an email. "'People do not get to make you feel bad. You can tell him to stop and if he doesn’t listen then he is wrong and you can make sure he knows it."
In her post, the mother said she wanted to give her girl enough confidence to make her own decisions.
"I want her to know she has a choice," she wrote. "She never has to stay quiet for someone else's benefit. She is powerful and she is able to say stop. I want her to know stop means stop and no means no. And if someone is offended by her boundaries, that's their problem."
She also wanted to use the incident as a teaching moment for others.
"It's nice to be friendly, it's nice to chat if you want to, but it's OK to say no and other people should respect that," she told Today. "I hope it will empower others to teach their children this lesson and I hope it gives those who do these things some food for thought."
And while the stranger didn't appear to have any ulterior motives, Bescoby said she felt he was being disrespectful of her daughter's wishes to not talk to him.
"We have these kinds of discussion almost daily," the mother said. "Bodily autonomy is hugely important to us. I want [my kids] to know that no one is allowed to force you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable."