16 responses

  1. RACHEL
    January 23, 2012

    Yaaay! I feel like I’m doing something sort of right here! We are super, super affectionate at my house and we have friends of both genders. Not all of our friends have kids and a very disproportionate number of them have girls, buuuuttttt, we do have friends with sons who our daughter enjoys a great friendship with. It’s so interesting to see how she adjusts her playing automatically when with boys. I have yet to see her ask a boy to play dolls, even boys who have dolls and even though I have told her that’s okay to play with them too. Just as I have yet to see her ask a girl to play cars or try to wrestle with another girl, even though she has cars to play with(I discourage the wrestling, though, as it is just an accident waiting to happen at that age). I don’t know if that means anything or is even related to this, but it’s something I’ve noticed.

    Anyway, it’s good to know that long term, that should have a good effect. She already has her dollies telling each other that they can’t kiss until they are married and that their mommy dolly wants them to finish school before they get married( I know, I know Sheila, they CAN get married in University, but just let me TELL her that can’t happen for now? LOL).

    • Sheila
      January 23, 2012

      Rachel, too funny! Yes, you can absolutely tell your daughter that! :)

  2. joanna
    January 23, 2012

    My parents were very affectionate when I was growing up and you’re right, I loved it. Thanks for this post. I will probably buy the books (because I have 5 daughters and the oldest is 10 and I’m nervous-ish), but also, your post helped me to see that I’m already doing a lot of those things, so I’m probably not messing them up permanently. You ROCK!

    • Sheila
      January 23, 2012

      Thanks, Joanna! I do think modelling is the main thing. I’m not saying the books don’t help; but if you’re not modelling it, no books are going to be enough.

      • Joanna
        January 25, 2012

        Got one of the books in the mail today and I showed it to my oldest daughter and she was so excited! Thanks again.

      • Sheila
        January 25, 2012

        Awesome! That was awfully fast. :)

  3. Julie
    January 23, 2012

    Oh, great article! Lots of good points. I especially appreciate the emphasis on continuing the physical contact as they age. Sure – as your husband discovered – it needs to be adjusted, somewhat, from dad to daughter, and mom to son, but they still need it!

    My three boys are 10, 13, and 15. The two youngers have always been more snuggly and still want me to tuck them in and give them hugs and kisses. My 15 year old has never been really huggy, but I “make” him hug me every night before bed, and i tell him I love him. He acts like he hates it and is horrified, and he would never initiate that on his own, but I can tell that he does appreciate it, no matter how offended he acts. (There’s a twinkle in his eye :D )

    I would caution you about one thing, though, which is having your best friends be the opposite gender. Or maybe it’s more of a concern when many/most of their friends are the opposite gender. It may just be situational (that’s who is available) and certainly you know your own kids best! I just mention it because I’ve seen that lead to trouble before. It’s good for girls to have other girls they can confide in. I’ve seen girls, with best friends that are boys, confiding too much in the boys, which leads to a level of intimacy that may not be appropriate. Again, you know your girls best!

    Great article ;D

    Julie

    • Sheila
      January 23, 2012

      Julie, I know what you’re saying about boys as best friends. Both my girls also have very close girlfriends, but they do really enjoy some of the boy friends, too. I did, too, and I know the girls are being careful! But it’s a good warning.

  4. Anonymous Please
    January 23, 2012

    I’m not trying to be difficult or throw things off, as I think the whole article is GREAT and right on target for most people, but may I introduce myself to you as the first person you’ve ever met who thinks their parents WERE too demonstrative? As I’ve grown up and dealt with the concept here in this post, that of modeling healthy relationship interaction for our children, and (especially !) *having* a healthy relationship with my husband, I’ve realized that my mother was most likely trying to do just what is suggested here: move out of her comfort zone and get rid of her hangups. However, coming from a *very unhealthy* (read: sexually abusive) childhood, she either didn’t know what *was* healthy, or was so focused on pushing past her comfort zone that she didn’t realize she pushed right past propriety and into indecency. Yes, we should “gross out” our kids, kissing, hugging, cuddling, holding hands, opening doors… etc etc. But *I* feel, because of my own personal history, that there does need to be some sort of “stopping place” installed, or you could just create more hangups and permanently damage relationships. For example, my mother is not allowed to be alone with my children, because I have NO confidence in her boundaries around her sexuality. I hope that I am the very very rare instance of this, and that no one will need this caveat, but I just didn’t feel comfortable with not saying *anything*. Maybe that’s *my* hangup. Thanks for the opportunity to speak. Keep up the great work on the blog!

    • Sheila
      January 23, 2012

      Very good point, and thanks for commenting. Yes, some people can definitely go overboard, and I think especially that trying to force anything that may resemble “sexual” affection on kids is also really wrong–like a mom holding a 12-year-old boy’s hand, for instance (unless he instigates it–and even then I’m wary). It’s one thing to hug someone or stroke their hair occasionally. It’s another to curl up with them and snuggle the way you would with a spouse. I have definitely seen moms go way across the line in that way, as if they’re replacing their husband with their kids.

      I’ve also seen people just show their kids too much of the physical affection they parents feel for each other–it’s one thing to kiss in front of your kids; it’s another to grope, so to speak. I should have mentioned this more, but I tend to assume that people are coming from healthy boundary situations, and you’re right; many are not. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Vinae
    January 23, 2012

    I love the advise you give. My children are very young still, but it is good advise to take to heart. I grew up in a family that was not at all touchy-feely, and married into a family that is, so I have had to learn how to be comfortable touching people. Fortunately, it is easy to be affectionate with my kids, and I love that they love to cuddle. Though, sometimes I need to still work on my willingness to touch and be touched by people – I tend to shy away from hugging or even a casual hand on an arm.

    And you are right about the sexual hang-ups as well. I attribute a lot of my hang-ups to having grown up in a family where affection wasn’t really shown, and it was strongly emphasized that sex before marriage is wrong (I’m not blaming my parents in any way, though!). I am going to encourage my kids to develop relationships with friends of the opposite sex, and will continue to show them how to be affectionate to their spouses.

    Thanks for the encouragement!
    Vinae recently posted…Praying for my ChildrenMy Profile

  6. Lisa Maria
    January 24, 2012

    Sheila, thanks for an excellent article. I do believe that you are absolutely correct! I came from an all-girl family and my father was not affectionate. Having not received that from him and having limited contact with boys (I didn’t start dating until I entered the working world and I was 19) I believe that it gave me a skewed view of male/female relationships. I have always been very uncomfortable with affectionate gestures by males unless I was in a relationship with them. I encourage my husband to be affectionate with my girls now because I could see how it was not having healthy affectionate gestures from my father is what caused this. Thankfully, they have male friends and neither of the older ones are dating yet (by choice) even though they are 19 and almost 21. This makes me very happy because they go out with friends but I know when the time comes and they meet someone special they will understand the difference between romance and friendship…unlike their mother!

  7. Amythest
    June 12, 2012

    I worry that I will be one of those moms who is too touchy. I grew up in a family where we knew our mom&dad loved each other. They held hand, kissed, went on dates, had locks on the bedroom doors. Then I got married to a man who grew up in a family where they rarely touched each other. If they did, they were usually punished. He refuses to touch me at all so I get no affection whatsoever from him. I like to wrestle around with my kids though. And the things that worries me most is that 3 of them are boys. Is that appropriate? Sure, they’re little- 5,4,2. And the bigger guys don’t like to cuddle like the littlest. But sometimes I do worry that b/c I get no affection from my husband I am replacing him with the kids.

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