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Girl Scouts say not to force your kids to hug relatives this holiday season

A parenting story on the Girl Scouts of the United States of America website is discouraging parents from forcing their daughters to hug relatives at holiday gatherings -- and any time during the year.

Titled, “Reminder: She Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Hug. Not Even at the Holidays,” the Nov. 2 article says encouraging young girls to go give a relative a hug or kiss as a greeting can lead to compromised views of consent.

“Think of it this way, telling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasn’t seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she ‘owes’ another person any type of physical affection when they’ve bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life,” the article said.

>> Read more trending news

Girl Scouts parenting expert and developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald explained the impact of telling young girls, “Go give your relative a big hug!” or “Give them a big kiss!”

“The notion of consent may seem very grown-up and like something that doesn’t pertain to children, but the lessons girls learn when they’re young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to be respected last a lifetime, and can influence how she feels about herself and her body as she gets older,” Archibald said.

Archibald said that unfortunately, people who prey on children exist and young girls need to be taught at an early age what consent means and how to get help if their rights are violated.

Comments on the organization’s Facebook post of the article were mixed.

“No girl is going to seriously think she has to get physical with a guy to be polite, just because she had to give Aunt Betty a hug at Christmas when she was little,” one woman wrote.

“Our kids deserve to decide what they do with their own bodies,” one mother commented. “Forcing them to give hugs takes that away from them. Sure, teach kids to be respectful. But give them choices for how they show affection.”

“Please,You have gone overboard. One, no one MAKES a child gives a hug. Two, Don't assume physical affection leads to negative behavior,” a self-identified senior scout wrote.

“Of course we all want our kids to be loving and kind,” another mother wrote. “But doing something that doesn’t feel right to them just because an adult wants you to is wrong.”

“Boys don't owe hugs either. I only ‘made’ my kids hug and kiss my dad 1x...it was the day before he died...other than that, never have made them hug or kiss anyone if they weren’t wanting to,” another Facebook user commented.

The Girl Scouts story says that the placement of boundaries isn’t meant for children to be rude, but that a high-five, a wave, or a “hello” or “thank you” can be alternatives to hugs and kisses. The organization also says that if a child decides to show affection in a hug or kiss on their own accord, that’s fine -- as long as it’s her decision. 

Black Friday 2017: 10 stores offering biggest Black Friday discounts this year

Are you ready for the biggest shopping day of the year?

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: When do stores open on Thanksgiving, Black Friday?

This Black Friday on Nov. 24, retailers are bringing out some major door-buster deals.

>> Read more trending news

Personal finance site WalletHub surveyed nearly 10,000 deals from the 35 biggest U.S. retailers’ Black Friday ad scans to identify stores offering the deepest cuts in a variety of product categories, including apparel/accessories, electronics and computers/phones.

Here are the 10 stores offering the biggest discounts overall and their average discount percentage:

Kohl’s (66.3 percent)

JCPenney (66.3 percent)

Belk (62.8 percent)

Stage (60.8 percent)

Shopko (55.9 percent)

Bealls Florida (52.8 percent)

Sears (50.1 percent)

Macy’s (45.6 percent)

Fred Meyer (43. 9 percent)

Army and Air Force Exchange Service (37.3 percent)

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Macy’s ad deals on clothes, appliances and more just leaked

To find out how much of a discount other popular stores are offering this Black Friday, visit wallethub.com.

The best retailers for each product category, based on Black Friday discounts:

Apparel and accessories

  1. Shopko
  2. Stage
  3. JCPenney
  4. Sears
  5. Belk

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: What to buy, what to avoid

Computers and phones

  1. Stage
  2. Shopko
  3. JCPenney
  4. Guitar Center
  5. Dollar General

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017 at Kohl’s: Massive deals on Xbox One S, Instant Pot, toys and more

Consumer electronics

  1. Stage
  2. Belk
  3. True Value
  4. Shopko
  5. Fred Meyer

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Walmart ad deals on laptops, TVs and more just leaked

Consumer packaged goods

  1. JCPenney
  2. Bealls Florida
  3. Office Depot and OfficeMax
  4. Stage
  5. Belk

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Costco ad deals on laptops, TVs and more just leaked

Toys

  1. Stage
  2. Belk
  3. Shopko
  4. Kohl’s
  5. JCPenney

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Best Buy ad deals on laptops, TVs and more just leaked

Appliances

  1. Shopko
  2. Bealls Florida
  3. Belk
  4. Stage
  5. Fred Meyer

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Dell offers deals today; Kohl’s, JCPenney’s, other ads leaked

Furniture

  1. Fred Meyer
  2. Shopko
  3. Kohl’s
  4. BJ’s
  5. Bealls Florida

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Target reveals massive Black Friday ad, Monday preview sale

Jewelry

  1. Walmart
  2. Target
  3. Kmart
  4. Best Buy
  5. Amazon

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Macy’s ad deals on clothes, appliances and more just leaked

Video games

  1. Walmart
  2. Target
  3. Best Buy
  4. Fred Meyer
  5. Shopko

Read more about the report and its methodology at Wallethub.com.

Massachusetts researchers make major discovery about IBS, fibromyalgia

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have made a groundbreaking discovery that could ease symptoms for millions of people suffering from conditions such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome.

>> Read more trending news

Dr. Anne Louise Oaklander said a good proportion of patients diagnosed with those health issues may actually have a disease called small fiber polyneuropathy, or SFPN.

This is a disorder in which nerve cells found under the skin are attacked by the body's immune system.

The resulting damage can cause numerous symptoms, including gastrointestinal discomfort and feeling like the skin is on fire. 

“The problem is their skin looks perfectly normal, and there's no evidence that anything's wrong,” Oaklander said.

Along with others, Oaklander recently published a study in which they found that drugs called immunomodulators can be effectively used to treat SFPN, though these drugs may not work in every patient because every presentation of the disorder is different.

She said patients who learn they have SFPN often feel liberated.

“It's pretty routine that I have patients who break down and cry when they get an answer for the first time to something that's been disabling them for years or decades,” Oaklander said.

One of those patients is MaryEllen Talbot, who had initially been diagnosed with fibromyalgia before learning she actually has SFPN.

“This diagnosis is from a biopsy, so it's not subjective, it's objective. It's something they see on the lab,” she said.

Talbot isn’t alone. Because of the varying symptoms from case to case, Oaklander said the number of people with SFPN could be huge.

“Maybe it's tens of millions of people around the world who have it, maybe it's hundreds of millions of people, but either way this is not a rare disease,” she said.

Black Friday 2017: What to buy, what to avoid

On Black Friday, you’ll want to know which items to stand in line for, and which items to buy after the holiday season has passed. You can end up saving a lot of money (and time) by shopping smart as you weave your way through the crowds or shop online.What to buy on Black Friday:Home appliances  They may not be the sexiest of gifts, but small and large home appliances often are priced to sell on Black Friday. From electric mixers and coffeemakers to refrigerators and dishwashers, Bankrate.com says it’s worth checking out the deals on these items on Black Friday.Televisions (basic models): While some analysts say January, leading up to the Super Bowl, is the best time to find a television at a good price, there are still plenty of TV deals on Black Friday. Keep in mind that lower-end models tend to be priced the most competitively, making Black Friday the perfect time to pick up a television for a second bedroom or the kids’ room. If you are looking for a high-end television, it’s better to wait until after Black Friday.Mainstream laptops and tablets: Shoppers will find many basic laptop models at bargain-basement prices on Black Friday. Power users looking for good deals on high-end laptops should wait until after Black Friday.The same logic applies to tablets. There will be plenty of Black Friday doorbusters featuring basic tablet models; just don’t expect steep discounts on iPads.Gaming system bundles: Nerdwallet says gaming system bundles should receive good discounts on Black Friday. In years past, gaming system bundles have been priced up to $50 off the regular price on Black Friday. What not to buy on Black Friday:Furniture: The furniture sales cycle resets in the summer, so if you wait until Black Friday, you won’t be getting the best deals, according to The Street. And while buying outdoor furniture in winter might seem like a wise plan, retail experts say most of that merchandise has been removed from the floor to make room for holiday items by Black Friday, so you won’t find great deals on the remaining products. Toys: Unless your child is hoping for one of this year’s hottest toys, it’s actually better to wait until Cyber Monday or early December to shop for toys, according to Bankrate.com. The toy that is priced up to half-off on Black Friday may end up being priced up to 75 percent off if you wait.Winter clothes: Avoid spending your shopping money on winter clothing during Black Friday, because it generally sells at a much deeper discount soon after the holiday season ends. Workout equipment: You might think that the best time to purchase workout equipment is during Black Friday, but the biggest deals on fitness equipment actually take place right after the turn of the new year.Tools: You can still get your husband that tool set he’s been wanting for Christmas, just wait to purchase it until December, when tools and equipment sell for the largest discounts.Gift cards: There are rarely good deals on gift card purchases on Black Friday. The Street says this is because gift cards are the gift choice of procrastinators, so wait until just before Christmas to score better deals. Holiday decor: Although you might want to buy a few special ornaments or decorations for your house on Black Friday, plan ahead by purchasing next year’s décor right after Christmas, when seasonal items are sold at clearance prices.

Can’t seem to lose weight? You may have this special gene

Are you envious of your friends who seem to eat whatever they want without gaining a pound, while a single slice of pizza causes you to gain several? Genetics may be related to the difference, according to a new report. 

» RELATED: How to lose weight: Take a break from your diet for two weeks 

Researchers from Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently conducted an experiment, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, to target mutations in a gene called ankyrin-B, which is associated with weight gain among heavier people. 

To do so, they engineered mice that had human variants of ankyrin-B. They found the mice grew quicker and faster than mice without the gene, even when getting the same amount of exercise and nutrition. 

"We call it fault-free obesity," senior author Vann Bennett said in a statement. "We believe this gene might have helped our ancestors store energy in times of famine. In current times, where food is plentiful, ankyrin-B variants could be fueling the obesity epidemic."

»RELATED: Why this diet praised by Jennifer Aniston could work for you

Why is that?

They discovered these rodents stored calories in fat tissues as opposed to the other tissues that burn the calories and use them as energy. This causes the glucose to produce even more fat, which is unusual. Normally, a special membrane works as a door to keep the glucose from spreading to other cells, but the mutation keeps the “flood gates opened.”

"We found that mice can become obese without eating more, and that there is an underlying cellular mechanism to explain that weight gain," Bennett said. "This gene could enable us to identify at-risk individuals who should watch what kind of calories they eat and exercise more in order to keep their body weight under control."

>> Read more trending news

For future studies, researchers hope to identify humans with the gene to determine how it could affect other variants of health. 

»RELATED: Lose the belly pooch: 7 do’s and don’ts to accomplish a flat stomach

Mom makes son do free yard work for neighbors as punishment for school suspension

A mother’s tough-love approach to her son’s bad behavior at school is getting a lot of praise online.

Shreveport, Louisiana, mom Demetris Payne shared a post on Facebook asking if anyone needed some free yard work, KSLA reports.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Grocery store employee goes above and beyond for boy going through tough time

“My son has been suspended for three days from school for discipline. He will do you lawn service, he will rake your yard, mow if you supply the mower, pick up trash or wash your car for free. Maximum three hours. If anyone has a rake they would like to donate will be awesome,” Payne wrote on Facebook.

Payne said she got a lot of responses to the post.

>> Read more trending news 

“He’s booked up for this weekend,” Payne wrote in the comments section of the post. Videos and photos shared on Facebook show her son working and cleaning up yards.

>> See the photos here

Another video showed Payne’s son mowing a second yard later that day.

>> See the video here

On Tuesday, Payne shared an update, saying her son was back at school.

“Look who’s back at school. Meeting with all his teachers and set up a plan so we can make sure he stays on track,” she wrote.

>> See the post here

People online praised the mom for teaching her son a valuable lesson.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“Raising children in this day and age is difficult,” wrote B Lori Watkins. “Great job young man… One day you will thank her for doing this.”

>> See the comment here

Servicemen help pregnant widow of fallen comrade with Veterans Day gender reveal

A military widow got some help from her late husband’s comrades in revealing the gender of the couple’s baby.

>> Watch the video here

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Ryan Lohrey was killed in a military plane crash in Mississippi. The plane was heading from North Carolina to Arizona for a military training, WECT reports.

Ryan had tied the knot with his wife, Cassie, just one month before his death on July 10.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Soldiers help with gender reveal for widow of fallen comrade 

“Our wedding was June 3,” said Cassie. “Just to think your life had completely turned upside down in 24 hours, just nothing you would ever expect.”

Cassie found out she was pregnant just days after Ryan’s July 31 memorial service.

Though she was heartbroken over the loss of her husband, Cassie was excited to welcome a baby.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“I knew Ryan wouldn’t leave me alone,” Cassie told CNN. “He wanted me to have a piece of him forever.”

She asked his team members to visit on Veterans Day to help with a gender reveal.

“I wanted to honor her daddy on this special day,” Cassie said. “Veterans Day is a big deal for us every year, but this year it’s extra special.”

Photos and video shared by SaralynJ Photography on Facebook show at least 17 of Ryan’s comrades surrounding Cassie.

>> See the photos here

The Marine and Navy corpsmen released tubes of pink confetti, revealing the exciting news that Cassie was expecting a baby girl.

“There was a lot of crying, a lot of yelling and a lot of hugging,” said photographer Saralyn Johnson told CNN.

>> Read more trending news 

CNN reports the baby girl will be named Ryan Jo Lohrey. She will arrive in March 2018.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the soon-to-be single mom. If you’d like to donate, click here.

>> Watch the news report here

Denver passes bill banning cat declawing

A proposed bill that would ban declawing cats was unanimously passed at a Denver City Council meeting in Colorado on Monday.

WUSA reported that the ordinance is effective immediately.

>> Read more trending news

Declawing occurs in a procedure known as onychectomy. In the operation, an animal’s claws are removed and most or all of the last bone of each of the front toes of an animal is removed. Nerves, tendons and ligaments are severed. 

“Onychectomy is an amputation and should be regarded as a major surgery,” according to the American Veterinary Medical AssociationThe Humane Society of the United States says the effects of the surgery can include death of tissue, paw pain, infection, back pain, lameness and death. 

According to The Denver Post, practicing veterinarian Casara Andre said declawing can be performed in a way that prevents pain for the pet, although she opposes the surgery as a routine operation.

“A decision to declaw a cat is affected by many human and animal factors,” Andre said at a public hearing Nov. 6. “The well-being of the animal and their human family is best defended by providing owners with education about alternatives to declawing, appropriate training for family cats, and well-informed discussions between that pet owner and their veterinary medicine provider.”

Kirsten Butler, a veterinary technician, said she no longer participates in the procedures.

“Having run anesthesia on declaw procedures, I can tell you it is an awkward and disheartening feeling to keep something alive while it is mutilated in front of you,” she said at the hour-long hearing.

Eight cities in California, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have passed bans on declawing. Australia, Japan, Brazil, Israel and multiple countries in Europe also have similar bans.

Alternatives to declawing include regular trimming of cat’s claws, stable scratching posts around the home, soft plastic caps for the cat’s nails and a special tape that can deter cats from scratching furniture.

Stove Top selling comical, super stretchy ‘Thanksgiving Dinner Pants’

Thanksgiving lovers, you’re in for a treat.

Stove Top, a popular stuffing brand by Kraft, is selling “Thanksgiving Dinner Pants” to make Thanksgiving dinner a more comfortable experience. 

>> Read more trending news

The super-stretchy pants let you eat as much as you like without the constraint of jeans, khakis or dress pants. They come in a maroon color with stuffing patterns on the pockets and waistband, and range from size small to extra large. 

Stove Top’s comical commercial suggests the pants are made from a fabric “astronauts use” and “can expand two times the original size.”

>> Related: Stuffing vs dressing: Is there really a difference?

Stove Top will be selling the festive pants until Nov. 30 for only $19.98. You can buy them on the website thanksgivingdinnerpants.com

Ten thousand dollars from the proceeds will be donated to Feeding America

Are leggings distracting? Atlanta fifth-graders want dress code changes

Two leggings-clad fifth-grade girls asked the Atlanta school board Monday to change its student dress code, which bans clothing that is “extremely tight” and “distracting.”

>> Read more trending news 

The board is reviewing revisions that would emphasize the dress code must be fairly enforced. Some Atlanta Public Schools students have complained the current rules target girls and want the new policy to drop the word “distracting.” 

“This is a label applied to girls’ clothing. I do not believe that clothing is a distraction. It is just the reaction that matters,” said Falyn Handley, a 10-year-old student at Springdale Park Elementary School, who spoke along with fellow leggings wearer and classmate Ruby Segerman. “I should not be punished for other people’s behavior. I am not a distraction.” 

The dress code rewrite is scheduled to go before the board’s policy review committee later this month and then return to the full board Dec. 4. The board likely will consider final approval in January, said board member Eshé Collins, who leads the policy committee. 

Read more about the proposed dress code changes here.

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