How do your kids and grandkids say hello and goodbye to you?
Now that the summer is here many families will be traveling to visit relatives and family friends that they only see once a year or at holiday time.
This visiting means there will be many hello and goodbye opportunities presented to our children.
Do you remember these rituals as a kid, having to hug and kiss “strange” relatives…you know, the ones with humor that you hated and different kinds of facial hair or even a smile or smell that you couldn’t stand.
Here are some reasons why you might not want to force your kids to kiss and hug anyone to whom they have an aversion.
If they have to be affectionate with adults when we want them to, will they able to stick up for themselves under other circumstances? Will they feel strong enough to say “no” under the pressure to agree to someone’s touch in order to please that person, or to “prove themselves?” I think that compliance with adult wishes for affection is not what we want for our children. We want them to experience real relationships, with a genuine show of affection that’s mutual and fulfilling.
So, my personal policy is that no child of mine (and no grandchild) has to give any particular kind of affection to relatives, guests, friends, or even to me as mom or grandma. I recommend this policy. That way you and others will receive real affection on your daughter’s timetable. You’ll have to be surprised as to when and where her affection will be expressed.
Now about those holiday hugs and kisses…your child should not have to hug and kiss all relatives and friends that he does not even know or remember. What is this telling him…it is telling him this, when he is uncomfortable with certain people touching him…it is okay for him to just say hello and nothing else. Consider the message that we are teaching our kids and then leave the hugging and kissing up to them.
Hello and goodbye moments are difficult for children just as they are for some adults. Your children need to respect their feelings and as parents and grandparents we should respect them as well. Kids need to know that they do not have to be touched unless it is okay with them.