We are not freaks. We love deeply and intensely, and we are very affectionate with our dear loved ones. Also, God has begun a beautiful work in each of us, softening and opening our hearts to allow us greater comfort with more people, and I know that He will complete that work as He sees fit. However, in the meantime, we BOTH continue to struggle with the expectations of those around us.
Thank you so much for encouraging all of us who have or are children who want and need stronger boundaries around their personal space! I was the exact same way growing up. My family is super tight and we love each other deeply, but my father was just never a touchy-feely person. Some of us are just born with a bigger personal space bubble. Continue to raise your kids the way you are and they will be very strong, independent adults!
Thank you for your honest post! My daughter is 8 years old and she still has family members forcing kisses on her. I just wish they would respect her wishes. This is a great post, with points that everyone needs to understand. My 2 year old daughter is very cuddly and affectionate, but I would do best to nonetheless be aware of her personal space and particular mood and be respectful of that. Thanks for writing about something that comes up a lot in my teo year old class, especially at nap time!
I will be sharing this with the parents at my center! While I agree for the most part and parents need to do what they feel is right for their particular child. I had a very different approach regarding affection. I am very touchy hands on person my husband is not. I had to teach him how to show affection. His nephews are the same way. All of them preferred to be left alone when babies and refused hugs from anyone. They all are on the spectrum to varying degrees. When I was pregnant with my son I figured the chances were good that he too could be on the spectrum.
From the very beginning I carried him in a sling at all times. Co-slept with him and had a lot of skin to skin contact time. When we found out that he was indeed on the spectrum the therapists said that he was likely doing so well because I had desensitized him him with all of the kissing and hugging and not putting him down. Now at 7 he realizes that hugs are an appropriate way to show someone you love them.
We even get spontaneous hugs now! Anyway, every child, parent, and family is different and we all need to respect those differences. I would just wonder if a child really never liked to be held and preferred to be alone if there could be a sensory issue there. I think there is a big difference between not wanting to be touched at all or never showing affection and simply not wanting to be kissed. I can totally understand that. I think there are times when all of us, child or adult, would prefer not to be hugged or kissed.
I agree that there are many adults who are not respectful of children in general. I also think there is a difference. I hated kisses as a child and avoided hugs as much as possible. There was just something about hugging and kissing that I was never fond of. It seemed to intimate to me, especially from strangers. Now, as an adult, I am perfectly OK with hugging anyone. I was very shy as a child, but have grown out of it. I might have dreaded being around people if I felt like physical contact was a must in society. Oh thank you!
So I sat on his lap. And absolutely nothing happened. I try to tell my own kids that more regularly. So ignorant.
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This is SO my daughter! She is extremely lovey with me, and my husband -but, for anyone else she always request space.
She told my mom herself that she gives her too many hugs and kisses, and asked her to stop. Which she did…and fully respects her wishes. Now with other family members, its far from the case…they think its funny, and push themselves on her. My kids are the exact opposite, they love giving and recieveing kisses and hugs.
But they despise people messing with their faces and most of the time dislike rough and tumble play. They are people too. Kids are human they are allowed to have bad moods and bad days and space, to many people expect kids to behave better than most adults. I always back her up if someone persists, and explain that respecting her boundaries is a gift to her.
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Thanks for posting! I enjoyed reading this post too. As a child I had not yet disclosed severe abuse from an uncle. I would refuse to hug him goodbye and once bit his hand when he gave me a kiss. My parents were well meaning, trying to teach me to be respectful and socially adept. But, I still vividly remember how sick, angry, and fearful it made me. I am now a teacher and was a camp counselor in college. When parents tell their obviously-unsure-about-it kid to hug me on the last day of camp or school I offer up a special high-five-of-awesomeness instead. I think that as educators and parents we can and should keep changing this to protect and empower our children.
How To Kiss A Woman
When I adopt my future kids they will have as much control over their bodies as I can give them, keeping them safe of course. Sensory integration for kids on the spectrum and other doctor approved medical interventions is a different matter entirely, I think, but should still be done respectfully.
I completely agree. I ask my 3yo every night how she would like me to say goodnight. For a while it was kiss, cuddle, shoulder rub, say goodnight.
Step 4: Kiss Signals
But now she just wants me to say goodnight without touching her. I am so glad I found this article. I have been scouring the internet for weeks. She really only likes to be held when she is upset or tired or when there are strangers around she likes to be as close to me as possible. But I was so upset a couple weeks ago at myself because I though maybe I had messed her up somehow. I have always given her kisses, from the moment they put her in my arms at the hospital and still every day, but she doesnt seem to pick up on that kind of affection.
There is nothing wrong with a child rejecting affection. I was not a touchy feely kid, either. I would have been scarred had hugs and kisses been forced on me. We ASK if she wants to give us a kiss. If she does, great!
She smacks one on me. I want to raise a woman who is able to voice what she wants. It starts now. If I have boys, it will be the same. Everyone deserves their space. So I never make a kid hug or kiss me, even my little nephew.
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I high five kids. If they want to hug me, they do and they are welcome to. It is in stopping and taking responsibility, listening, seeing if he could do anything, that the healing would begin. Even then. No connection is too small to not nurture carefully. Every connection attempted is one done with grace. What now? It sucks to be rejected. You gathered your courage, got brave, and tried it. Consider the rejection a gift. Better to make out with someone who wants to make out, who knows how to say no, rather than giving a resentful yes. Also consider the courage it takes to rebuff an unwanted advance.
What kind of cues were you getting? Or is she friendly with everyone? Was she physically affectionate with you, touching your arm when she was speaking to you? Or does she do that with everyone? What made you think you could go in for a kiss? How often is that effective? Use words.
She turned her head. Why not? Hey, I wanted to kiss you. Did I misread your signals? Be open to what she has to say. Consider a different approach with a different woman. Charlie Glickman, Ph. Wait for the answer. Consider non-verbal cues.
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Start with your own non-verbal cues. A small touch on the hand or arm to create a connection. Does she respond? Does her body lean into yours? Does she touch your arm in response? Does she mirror your body language or your touch? Feel into the response each time.
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Another note on this: drinking can certain loosen you up, but also clouds your ability to perceive someone else. In other words, less is more. Consider the kiss. Was she responsive? Did you create space in the kiss for her to respond and not just mash your lips on hers or jab with your tongue? Or did she seem passive? Did she finish the kiss quickly?
If she was not responsive or finished the kiss quickly, then consider that she might not have been that into it. In that case, ask. It takes courage to make a move, to make yourself vulnerable, to kiss someone for the first time. Take a breath.