Woman Times

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Is forcing children to kiss and hug relatives harmful?

Woman Times is a weekly blog series devoted to giving voice to the women of the Central New York community.

Lucy Emmerson, coordinator for the Sex Education Forum, warns that forcing children to kiss family members could be harmful. She suggests we teach our children to high five granny and wave at gram pop from across the room, instead of offering a warm embrace. She thinks teaching our kids to show affection for the elderly will “blur the boundaries of what is acceptable when it comes to physical contact.” Are you kidding me? I kissed my grandparents, great aunts and uncles every time they entered the room out of respect. The love they poured on me is what made me the secure person I am today. Love in the form of hugs and kisses from our elderly family members is priceless. Some children never know this kind of love from anywhere else. What a horrific mistake to teach our kids to wave or high five instead of hug.

Syracuse Woman CNY WomanI have three grandsons and a granddaughter. I kiss them every day about 100 times. The two little boys hop into bed with me in the morning before school and we watch cartoons together. That is the sweetest way to start any day. They are so lucky to know, without question, that I love them, unconditionally, no matter what they do, no matter what they say, no matter how tall they get or how much baby fat they have or how many pop tart crumbs they leave in the sheets. I will always be there with a warm hug and bowl full of love.

I’m at the mall right now and I’m looking around the food court. It’s 4:12 in the afternoon. There are several grandparents lovingly holding the hands of their precious grandchildren. There is nothing that compares to a grandparents love. You want to take that away from them to teach them about acceptable touching? How about you sit down and have a conversation with your children about what is and what isn’t acceptable?

A-young-hand-holding-an-elderly-hand-665-x-400According the The New York TimesThe experience of being touched, new research shows, has direct and crucial effects on the growth of the body as well as the mind. Touch is a means of communication so critical that its absence retards growth in infants, according to researchers who are for the first time determining the neuro chemical effects of skin-to-skin contact. The findings may help explain the long-noted syndrome in which infants deprived of direct human contact grow slowly and even die.” How’s that for what love does for us?

Psychoanalysts John Bowlby and Renee Spitz, observed children orphaned in World War II and found psychological and physical stunting of infants who were deprived of physical contact. Premature infants who were massaged for 15 minutes three times a day gained weight 47 percent faster than others who were left alone in their incubators. Need I go on?

I think we don’t touch each other enough in our society. Take a trip to Europe. People are hugging and kissing on every street corner and no one gives a hoot. Spend time in a different culture, or even with touchy-feely friends, and your attitude toward touch can change. Physical touch; a hug, a kiss, a loving hand pat is very beneficial between family members and children.’ What are we robots?

How are we supposed to grow in our relationship with our family members if we are taught to high five them instead of hug? I get just as much of a benefit as the kids do from all this love. We feel more connected to someone we touch. I have a feeling I am not going to be to popular for this blog post but I don’t care.

Unless you happen to have an uncle who just got out of prison for watching child porno on his computer, it it my opinion, teaching your kids to avoid the grandparents will do more harm than good. Now go kiss your grandmother.

Syracuse Woman Yvonne Conte is a nationally recognized and internationally respected Corporate Culture Expert/Author at Humor Advantage, Inc. She is founder and director of Day of Joy Women’s Conference and member of Camillus Chamber of Commerce.



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email at smi[email protected]

You can always find her counting her blessings.



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