In a previous post, I mentioned that I am anti-kissing for my kids (ie I don’t like people kissing my kids esp. if they have even the slightest cold) because it is a possible way to pass on infections to them. Aside from the physical consequences, an article I read on Babble stated an opinion that asking a small child to kiss others (at your will) can actually be emotionally damaging to them in the long-run. (OK, I can see the eyes rolling now in front of the computer screens.)
The ideas in the article actually struck me. According to the article “Physical affection when not given freely is wrong. Full stop.” And we shouldn’t pressure our kids to perform acts of physical affection nor pressure them to be OK with “strangers” kissing them. Although controversial, I do tend to agree.
Just imagine this situation: You’re having lunch with your mom and she sees a friend she hasn’t seen for a long time. Her old friend (who is a complete stranger to you) asks you to give her a hug and kiss. Wouldn’t that be really weird?? (Or is it just me??) It always makes me feel uncomfortable when someone I just met gives me a kiss as a greeting. And for little babies and young kids, practically everyone is a complete stranger (even some immediate family) and we subject them to this weirdness every time we ask them to kiss someone they hardly know or have any emotional connection with. (The things I think about while putting the baby to sleep!)
Because I see the merit in the ideas in the article, I have stopped asking my daughter to kiss or hug even our immediate family (mainly because it doesn’t come naturally to me either). If she wants to, then I don’t stop her. I also don’t ask other kids to do the same to me. As a parent, it’s actually much nicer when my child goes up to me and kisses or hugs me out of the blue rather than when she does so out of habit.
DISCLAIMER: I don’t mean to judge people who like asking kids to kiss them or others as a form of respect (basically 99.9% of the population). This post isn’t about you but of my own personal weird paranoia and beliefs (also the crazy thoughts that go on in a new mom’s head at 3:30AM while breastfeeding).