Monday, November 05, 2007

To Kiss or Not To Kiss

I was reading in the Editorial column in one of our local papers today an article about family affection, specifically, what are your family's traits when it comes to displaying affection for one another. The article was well written with humour and quotes from human behaviour analysts. To sum up the article, it basically said that each of us, when we move on to have our own families (whether it be with children or not), will create our own way of affection. That may be in the form of what we were socialized into within the family dynamics that we grew up in, or we may introduce a whole new way that works for us. So, if we grew up in a family that displayed affection the "Anglo-European way", we would give each other pecks on the cheeks or if we grew up "The Italian way", we would move to the full on smack on the lips. Others may have grown up in a family where the form of affection would be a pat on the back, a hug or even just a "Good On You" verbal message.

That got me thinking what type of environment did I grow up in and have I carried that over into my family dynamics now. For as long as I can remember, I am pretty sure that I was showered with affection from my parents. If I wanted a hug or a kiss, all I had to do is ask for one or crawl into my parents laps and receive one automatically. And, to this day, my mom, sister and I (as my father has passed away) still shower each other with hugs and kisses when we get together. When my husband and I first started dating, I remember him commenting on how "touchy/feely" the three of us were. I think at first he was a little stunned at our affectionate ways and wasn't sure as to how to partake in it. From what I have observed over the past 15 years in my relationship with my husband, his family loves each other deeply, but they are not touchy/feely; which is fine because there is no right or wrong to me as long as you know that you are loved.

Now that my husband and I have our own precious family, I find that we are definitely a touchy/feely family at this point. At any given opportunity, you will find one of us (parents or kids) cuddling, hugging or kissing the other. We are the full smack on the lips kind of family, followed by big, tight warm hugs and then the verbal I Love Yous. I dream that this kind of affection between the four of us will remain like this forever but know that there may come the day that my children will be too self conscious to do so, especially in public. Years ago, I met this one family and their displays of affection for one another captured my heart. There were two boys in the family and at the ages of 15 & 18, they had absolutely no problem giving their mom and dad a hug and/or kiss in public. That continued on for as long as I saw them, until the youngest was 22 years old. Even though I have lost touch with them, I am sure that they continue to display their affection for one another. I remember distinctly telling myself that should I ever have a son in the future, that I wanted to raise him to be secure enough in himself to be able to confidently show meaningful affection to me if he ever felt the need to do so in public. I know that wanting this is silly, but I do hope that Kaelen never loses his need to give me or his dad affection, and if he were to want it in the public eye, that he would feel comfortable to do so.

Which .... this brings me to my next thought: Why does there at times seem to be this unwritten rule that public displays of affection is a no-no? I mean, I am NOT the type of person to be making out with my husband in public. For me personally, I would rather keep that behind closed doors but, I will hold his hand, give him a hug or a full wet smack on his lips if he says or does something endearing. And, my heart just melts when I see my hubby (or any parent with their child for that matter) scoop one of our children up in his big arms when we are out in public and hearing him tell them that he loves them and then gives them affection. But then again, I am a touchy/feely kind of person. I love giving hugs to people as it is a way for me to express myself. Again, I do realize that this form of communication is not for everyone and that is fine. There is no right or wrong when it comes to what one is comfortable with.

So, back to this article, it also asked the question in a humorous manner as to how do you greet or depart with friends and acquaintances. Do you give them a hug, a chaste cheek kiss or a quick smack on the lips? That one had me laughing. I will 100% of the time give a hug and depending on who I am hugging (meaning how close our relationship is), I will usually give the chaste cheek kiss. We do however have close friends that we have been known to give the full smack on the lips as it is second nature to us. There is nothing sexual about it but our love for them that is akin to family.

Just out of curiosity, what do you do? If you are up to sharing, please feel to do so. Again, there is no right or wrong, I would just be curious to see what everyone else does.


Adventures In Babywearing said...

Very interesting! I was a very loved child, but am not touchy/feely with my Mom or brother, but am with my Dad (and my Mom and Dad are still married.) I was always closer to him. Hubby's family is very touchy/feely and I am also very touchy/feely with them. And we are the same with our kids- always huggin & kissin!

Andrea said...

How interesting!! I've never REALLY thought about this, although I do think it's extremely important to hug and cuddle and even give kisses to your children and hubby! My parents are definitely not even CLOSE to touchy feely...a hug is pushing it...but I just don't think you can love your kids too much with those hugs and kisses (personally I'm a on the cheek kisser), but oh, I do think it is important!! :)

kate said...

hubby and i always remark about how we can't keep our lips off of our kids! and that's showing restraint. babies are downright edible!

Peant Butter and Jelly Boats said...

Great post! I think I feel the same way as you on this one. Huggs and kisses were given freely as a child but my husbands family is not that way really- until they had grandkids that is!! We're always slobberin all over our kids!

sari said...

We're huggy kissy here as well. I don't mind huggy/kissy PDA, I think it's the kind of PDA where you're like "Excuse me, I didn't need to see your tongue" that's the kind you don't want to see, ha ha.

Ellen said...

I love this post! I never thought of the fact that my family has never been a physically affectionate type until I met my husband and his family.. and of course we are huggin and kissin our kids all the time (who wouldn't, before you know it you'll be hearing 'eww that's gross mom' and I think it's wonderful to show PDA with your family - you don't see it enough now adays.. but I agree, no tongue please :)