sons and affection

This right here is my least affectionate kid.  He doesn't love the hugs and kisses as much as the other kids, but we still get a bunch in every single day when he's feeling soft and squishy inside.

So, let me tell you a story for a minute.  I know this great lady.  She's got it all together and runs her household with grace - totally someone I admire and respect.  But one day she did something that completely shocked me.  Her little boy, who was 3 or 4 at the time, reached up, wrapped his sweet little arms around her neck and tried to kiss her.  He got in trouble for it!  I guess it's a rule in their family that the boys can't kiss mommy on the lips.  I was so surprised!

I just couldn't wrap my brain around what that rejection might feel like to a little one.  Especially, maybe, because it was based solely on gender.  I mean, is that better or is that worse?  All I know is I saw this boy working really hard to get his mom's affection, and it just wasn't working.

I, obviously, have limited experience.  I haven't studied it out extensively or anything, but I would just imagine that a boy who can't get healthy affection from him mom might just end up looking for inappropriate affection from others.

Of course, I completely see that different people have different comfort levels with this stuff in general.  For instance, my families' culture growing up wasn't super cuddly, and we didn't have a whole lot of verbal "I love yous", but that was our normal.  And as time passed and we as children influenced the family culture more and more, some of those things gradually changed.  Some people are just not as touchy-feely.  I totally get that.

I gotta tell you, though, that kids, and in my experience, boys in particular, need lots of love.  Lots of positive and gentle touch.  I think they often have these rough and tumble, fast-paced, imaginary and intense lives, and little back rubs, bear hugs, tickles, muggas, and kisses help balance all that out a bit.  I do know that my boys, all 4 of them, soak up the eye contact, the kisses, all that good stuff.  They love every second of it.

This is what I hope is true - that if I shower on them all this good stuff that when some aggressive or needy girl out there tries to get into my boy's heart, that he won't be fooled and give in to the attention.  That he'll happily hold out until some wonderful, happy, confident, and kind girl comes along.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see.


Janalee said...

I agree katie - I love kissing their faces and feet and eating their cheeks and toes, smelling their little heads and faces and holding them all the time like monkeys - even Roman likes it and he's 9. They eat affection up.

Katie Richins said...

Isn't it just the sweetest! It melts my heart when the kid who was just being a tough ninja 5 seconds ago gives me a big bear hug and puckers his lips for a kiss!

Martie said...

They are never to old for it! So sweet.

Real said...

When we had only little kids, I noticed that my younger boys got lots more physical affection than my older girls. I wondered if it was a gender thing or an age thing. Turns out it's an age thing for me. Because now the older boys get less than the younger girls. And I stop being comfortable with kisses on the lips around the age of 4 or 5. I still have an older child who comes in for kisses on the lips and I pull them close and hug them but offer a cheek instead. But I do try to give lots of physical affection in other ways.

Martie said...

I am the same, Real. I have noticed that I have started giving Delany the cheek lately too. She's almost 9, and it is feeling pretty awkward. I smooch her cheeks a lot though!