• Fri, Jan 3 - 12:00 pm ET

I May Be In The Minority, But All The Dads I Know Kiss Their Sons

139626973I’m the mother (and stepmother) to three boys. They are all older, 11, 15 and 17 and I have never not kissed them, and I have never noticed their fathers not kiss them. I’m not sure if we are in the minority, but there is so much kissing going on up in here that now I’m starting to think that maybe we are the weird ones because we have never considered NOT kissing our boys. Regardless of how old they are.

There is a fascinating article in the Huffington Post Parents section today written by Doug Ziegler entitled Yeah, I Kiss My Sons.. So What? where Doug explains how he has noticed father’s don’t kiss their sons, especially when their boys grow beyond toddler age. The article is interesting and makes sense, but my own reality is very far removed from it. I see all sorts of dads kiss their sons all the time. I have seen my own husband kiss his sons, I have seen my ex-husband kiss his son, and I have even see my husband’s dad kiss my own husband, who just turned 53. Way way past toddler age.

And it isn’t like any of these men are super touchy people, they aren’t known for being affectionate with acquaintances beyond a friendly handshake, but when it comes to their boys there is a whole lot of kissing and hugging and hand holding going on here. And it’s not just us. One of my best friends is married to an ex-football player, who I will call Mr. C. Mr. C is about as big as an average doorway, is interested in just about every stereotypical masculine thing you can think of (This is the kind of guy you want on your side in a bar fight) and is the father to two teenage boys. Granted, Mr. C is incredibly smart and thoughtful and kind, but he is also what one would consider a “man’s man” – and he is all over his sons. I have seen him act very affectionate towards them and I can’t imagine how he would react if someone were to suggest he needs to toughen his boys up by NOT kissing them. And I can’t think of a man I know, at least in my own circle, who would not find that whole notion nonsense.

I like to think we live in a world where most men understand that they won’t turn their sons gay by kissing them. Kissing a son doesn’t make them a sissy, or weak, or unable to grow up and attend college and get a decent paying job and recycle. If anything, showing our boys affection, especially from their fathers, shows them that the strongest men they know are capable of love. It makes them feel secure and self-confident and illustrates how they can be towards their own kids if they decide to become parents. I guess I appreciate the article in the sense that Doug Ziegler feels it is something fathers need to be aware of, but I also think this whole men not kissing their sons things was a lot more prevalent in the 1950′s, at least amongst the dudes I know.

There is no lack of affection in my house from any parent. I see my own husband kiss and hug his boys in public, and if anything, it can be annoying to me at times when I am ready for sleep and I find this all-male cuddle party going on in my bed, including the dog. Even when my husband is reading or working on his computer he will have his arm around a kid, no matter if it’s a son or daughter. Of course there is a time and place for this, it’s not like they spend all day kissing and hugging, but when they are relaxing watching Tv or having a chat or saying goodbye I see them being affectionate. We may be in the minority, but we kiss and hug our boys.

It’s just how we act towards those we love, regardless of age or sex. I don’t think we are alone in this.

(Image: getty images)

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  • Bethany Ramos

    This topic means so much to me because I think a lot about how affectionate I will “get” to be with my sons when they are grown. Now I love cuddling them so much, and I wonder when and why does it stop?

    My husband is also a very affectionate dad, though his parents really aren’t. So thanks for this because I never want to stray away from ALWAYS being affectionate with my kids – no matter how old they are – and for my husband too.

  • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

    My husband and I have discussed this because, is there a line where we need to stop kissing our kids all over the face? Good to know we’re pretty normal.

    • Bunny Lucia

      The line is when they push you off of them and say “MOOOOM” Or “DAAAD”

  • Fuzzy ‘n Broken Mirror

    Wait, that stockphoto and title are confusing me. Are we talking about Minority Dads kissing???

    • Anon

      OMG! THERE ARE BLACK PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET! I’M SO CONFUSED! /sarcasm

    • Tinyfaeri

      Why did this get down-voted? I think it’s just referencing the decided lack of minorities in stock photos used on various commercial sites that was referenced in a post a little while ago (I think it was for photo cards, though it applies to everything). Like in a “yay, a minority in a stock photo for a non-racially-specific blog post” way. I mean, if not, insert something snarky here, but…

  • pixie

    I see zero problem with parents kissing their children and showing affection towards them. Dads kissing and hugging sons, moms kissing and hugging sons, parents kissing and hugging daughters. I’ll admit to getting a little uncomfortable when I see parents kissing their children on the lips, because I have always associated that with “adult” love (and I really can’t offer up an explanation as to why, I just somehow picked it up and ingrained it into my mind), but if that’s how parents kiss their children, then that’s their prerogative and I’m not going to judge.

  • DatNanny

    I think both my mother and father and father stopped kissing us (daughter and son) when we were around school age. There was never a lack of affection, lots of hugs, cuddling, as a family we just don’t really kiss. I think it actual sprung from a fear of embarrassing us – my brother is definitely one that would have been embarrassed at any publicly displayed affection from our parents.

    It never felt strange or lacking, I really never thought anything of it. Though I think, like Pixie, I do associate kissing on the lips as more of an adult/couple action. I don’t think it’s wrong, I just can’t help but find it strange when parents kiss their older children on the lips, though it seems fine with little kids. I think perhaps I associate it with an appropriate boundaries thing as well? By school age you need your kid to know they can’t go around kissing all their friends on the lips, but with a toddler it’s sweet.

    • Aldonza

      Yeah, my family are huggers but have never been kissers. I did find, however, when I had first moved from the West coast to the East coast, that people were much bigger on the kissing on the East coast. Lots of hug into cheek kiss as a way of greeting or goodbye. Never had that where I grew up. Not sure if some of it is regional?

  • Kay_Sue

    Is this really a thing? We express affection to our kids through hugs and kisses and snuggles. I do it, my husband does it. Do dads really have to defend themselves for kissing their sons? Smh.

  • Bunny Lucia

    My mother has never kissed me on the lips. But even now that I’m in college we kiss cheeks all the time.

    Granted I’ve never been affectionate with my father, but when someone abandons you as an infant you don’t ever get close to them, physically or emotionally. C’est La Vie

  • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

    Love this post. My husband kisses all of our kids, including our son, and my ex kisses the adorable son he had with his new wife the same way he kisses the daughter we have together. My dad has no sons, but he’s always been affectionate, and I am certain he would have kissed any sons he might have had.

  • Des

    My hubs and son give smooches, of course! One day at a family birthday party, my nephew saw my son give dad a goodbye kiss and nephew said “yuck”. I thought to myself SHAME on my brother for somehow expressing to my nephew that this affection is “yuck”. :(

  • July

    My husband shakes his own dad’s hand. But with our new son, he is extra affectionate and I so hope it stays that way.