My family was never lovey dovey. I vaguely remember that we would hug and kiss our parents before going to bed. I never thought anything of it, it was just the way it was. It also meant that when we saw each other after returning from school breaks, vacations, or summer camp that our way of greeting each other upon arrival was to give a hug and a kiss. As I got older it started to feel a bit strange. Maybe not as much when I kissed my grandma, but definitely I thought about it when I hugged and kissed my dad. Somehow my sister and I just avoided it all together by not even hugging each other. Over time as my mom, dad, and grandma gradually died, there was no one left to hug and kiss hello or goodbye, so it was not something that I thought about much.
I recently read this blog: “Do you kiss your babies on the mouth? Or your parents?” It made me think about what we expect from kids. I am absolutely smitten with my nine month old niece and I want to love and dote on her, snuggle, and make her laugh, but I also want to be conscious of not making her feel like she has to do anything she does not want to do. I would rather her come to me and snuggle when she wants to, and yet that is hard for me. I have such a voracious strong love for her — so how do I hold myself back and let her come to me and yet still show her my extreme love?
It also makes me think about what I would do as a parent. I love the idea from the blog of how the dad decided to kiss on the head, and not on the lips. It allows kids to make their own choices and not feel like they have to kiss back. While I think at times that a hug is harmless, I also would never want to force my kids to hug anyone that they do not want to hug (See past blog: Consent: No means no). I have a hunch that my parents never even took the time to think about what was right, or what they felt was important. My hunch is that they replicated what happened for them during their childhood.
Yet, is it not a little strange to teach kids to kiss on the lips (unless they willingly decide to do so)? If you have kids, how have you thought about this? Hugs and kisses? Hugs only? Kisses on the head?