I’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)