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Why It’s Okay For My Child To Refuse to Kiss Family and Friends


Why It’s Okay For Your Child To Refuse Kissing Family and Friends

Away with my tribe, on tour at the moment, this exact topic has been a discussion of much heated debate between the hubby and I! Visiting our family and friends in Sydney our little ones have been pulled from pillar to post meeting and greeting a sea of faces, some old and some very new. Our little man, our Hurricane, like most four year olds, can be reserved in his interactions, bordering shy he can be selective with his connections and depths of his relationships with others.

This can and does present difficulties when we are expectant, of him, to warmly embrace those we know and who we are comfortable with but he has not quite yet figured out. As parents we often jump and react when a hug or a kiss is declined or barred by our children toward the ones we love. Often fearing it be rude or impolite we push and push them to partake in something they ultimately don’t want to do or feel comfortable, yet, participating in. Unbeknown to us we are potentially forcing through that personal space and those protective barriers our little one are encouraged to make.

Parenting is a juggling act at best, we are constantly learning and trying to balance, with the best intentions for our children. In a time when awareness of ourselves is blazing we can often be torn between our ideals of what we perceive to be polite and based on respectful etiquette and encouraging happy and healthy behaviours for our little ones. We want our children to have and display behaviours labelled as basic manners, but, in the same breath we are walking a thin hypocritical line and taking from them their right, as an individual, with boundaries, to say no.


Children are constantly creating aspects of their protective selves, pieces of themselves that help them to feel comfortable and supportive. It engages with their own identity and their own sense of self. By forcing to kiss and hug, when they aren’t ready, we are robbing them of the opportunity to learn through their insecurities, to foster their own feelings of confidence in the relationships they are forming, and to choose when they feel it is ok for someone else to be invited into their own secure personal space.

It is hard, no question, we want those magical moments of connections for our children with our loved ones. We want the ones we care about to have that bond with our children, but I think we need to be mindful that these are our wants, our feelings of what would do and expect as relatively functioning adults who have a strong sense of self and identity. We are markedly more in touch with our feelings and forcing our feelings on our little learners is robbing them of the chance to foster their own. Let them build their boundaries and weigh up as a parent do we want our children to unwillingly follow with our ideals of politeness or do we want the strong and grounded in their mighty sense of self?


Laura Sheehan

Laura Sheehan is an early childhood teacher and Perth based mum of two to Brody aka 'The Hurricane' and Daisy aka 'Little Ray of Sunshine.' Laura hosts a small blog The Whole Mummy looking at all things Mummy, the good, the bad and the ugly with brutal truth and honesty. Laura works closely with the Meningitis Centre Australia, having nearly lost her Hurricane to Meningococcal B Meningitis, as well as the Stillbirth Foundation Australia due to the heartbreaking stillborn loss of her second son Beau. Laura, along with her former Wallaby husband and their family aim to promote awareness of these two tragedies, offering support and encouraging greater understanding of each. They are ambassadors for both the Men Centre and The Stillbirth Foundation You can follow and learn more about Laura's story on her blog thewholemummy.com and her social media (Instagram and facebook links).

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