*As previously published on Hybrid Mom
We’ve come to an interesting place in society that I can’t help but take notice of. With the advancement of technology has come the regression of human to human contact. Why call when you can text right? Wrong. There is a whole generation of kids who can barely look up from their cell phones long enough to look someone in the eye and say hello, let alone have meaningful human to human interaction. It’s even seeping into the older generations…everyone is on the go, no time to stop…even with their own families.
When I was a little girl my mother tells me her friends kids would ask her to please get me to stop kissing them! My whole life I have been a very affectionate person…always body-to-body hugger. When I met my husband Michael he was very affectionate too. I would always sit on his lap to talk to him. Whenever he is in close proximity I am reaching out to hold his hand or touch his arm … make a connection.
When our children were born, it was a huge new avenue for our love and affection. We endlessly smothered them with love, kisses and hugs. I can never sit next them on the couch without a leg thrown over them or an arm around their neck. If my boys have a t-shirt on I have my hand up in their sleeve. Maybe it’s excessive, but I don’t know how else to be. My boys are 17 and 23 and still kiss my husband square on the lips, the same way they always have. What has come from this is a very affectionate group, first with each other and us, but also with most people they know. If they have met you once it’s a hug hello from then on.
My son goes to an all boys’ school where he greets every friend with a big bear hug. It seems that often, with boys in particular, kids are cut off in adolescence from that affection and life moves into the ‚hand shake.‛ That is great and formal and has its place, but I don’t think they are ready to be cut off. My kids will even comment to me about someone who gives a cold distant sort of a hug…‛what’s up with that hug?????‛
Everyone has their own comfort level with affection and I’m not saying that you should hug every stranger on the street, but I would say give more than you think and more often. Reach out with a loving hand and reassure your loved ones you are there. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort and in my experience is it goes a long way. Most importantly teach your children to do the same. You will enrich both your own relationship with them as well as their ability to develop relationships and make deeper connections with others as they grow.