When is a kid too old for Mom PDA?

Our friend, Lisa Flam, was surprised and saddened when her 4th-grade son didn’t want her bus stop kiss good-bye!

An Associated Press reporter, she ended up using the experience for a great story about what it means when kids diss your kiss!

Here’s some excerpts from her story:

“We were only two weeks into the school year when my son hopped up the school bus steps one morning before I could kiss him goodbye.”

“I called his name, and my not-so-little-anymore fourth-grader turned to give me that knowing look, fully aware that we had skipped the morning ritual.”

“So after trudging back into a quiet house, I did what any mom in the modern age would do: I updated my online status to say the missed kiss had gotten me down. Within minutes, I was comforted to know I was not alone.”

She also found experts who could comfort her:

“My instincts were right. The shunning of parental PDAs usually happens sometime in grade school, when kids’ social scenes are expanding. That’s when they’re more aware of people’s perceptions of them and don’t want to be seen as little kids, said Liz Pungello, a developmental psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

” ‘It’s about them and their social scene and has hardly anything to do with us,’ she said, making me feel marginally better.”

“My spirits rose further when George Scarlett, a developmental psychologist at Tufts University, said children whose parents have developed a nurturing relationship with them should be secure enough around this age to tackle the outside world. Leaving without the kiss is a sign that they are feeling confident and autonomous and are making their own healthy friendships.”

” ‘Not kissing, then, means a parent has done his or her job!’ he said by e-mail….”

“My friends had some solutions. ‘We do the 3 hand squeezes for I-L-Y,’ wrote Melissa, of her almost 10-year-old son. Heather reports that her 7.5-year-old-son deemed a kiss ‘OK as long as I do it before the bus comes.’ ”

“Others are unwilling to give up the buss at the bus and resort to force. My cousin Lisa, a black belt in karate, grabs her fifth-grade son to kiss him on the head. ‘Sometimes, I block the entrance to the bus,’ she wrote.”

“Of course, we can give our children a squeeze or a peck — that feeling of safety and security — at home. ‘They still need that affection and warmth from us. They just need it to not be in front of their friends,’ Pungello said.”

Lisa ends her story saying she’s OK as long as she gets to love him at home.

What have you found? What age do kids diss your kiss? When is Mom PDA no longer welcome? Do girls allow it longer than boys? Do you force it on them? What are your workarounds to still show affection?

42 comments Add your comment

Paul

October 4th, 2009
8:58 pm

Don’t worry, it’s not so much an end to the PDA, just a small slice of time when it’s pushed away. About 4th grade to 9th grade I find tends to be when kids say no to physical displays of their mother’s affection. After that, the affection can happily go on!

That was my experience at least. I love when my mom gives me a big ol’ hug and a kiss on the cheek now!

Paul
Your Stuff, OurShelf – making life a little easier for moms (http://bit.ly/9ZjZY)

DB

October 4th, 2009
10:41 pm

I was never a big kissy-kissy type, in the first place. There was always an “I love you, have a great day!” before they left, but we’ve never been the kiss in the morning, kiss before bedtime, kiss before leaving kind. They certainly got kisses — it just wasn’t ritualized.

But stay away from my hugs if you want to breathe . . . :-)

Robbie

October 4th, 2009
11:12 pm

If you raise your kids with a show of affection, they will return it to you. Years later, probably, but it will be returned!

All of the kids and grandchildren in our family are huggy and kissy when we see each other — years after sqirming away from PDAs.

It might hurt at the moment :)

Just think of the love your kids will give you back when they are older.

FCM

October 5th, 2009
6:34 am

My mom relates taking my brother to school one day about that age. He told her no more kisses, and she decided to try and be stoic about it. So, they get to the school and he asks what is on the floor of the car, she bends to look over and he kissed the back of her head. That was his solution for a short time.

Fast forward many years. I had long been out of the hug or kiss my parents routine. I love them, just don’t hug or kiss them. Which may be odd, since I do hug many of their friends, people at church, etc. Anyway, I was a parent and noticed that my children were starting (at preschool age) to think they should not get hugs or kisses from me at least not until bedtime. I realized I was modeling behavior that was not conducive to the behavior I wanted in my home. Now I hug my parents. I kiss the top of my father’s bald head—which I actually did do in college to leave lipstick on it and make him mad.

My children both well into ES still want me to walk them into school, and to hug or kiss them wishing them a good day.

I think if you are concerned about it, you should look at your own behavior. It is the whole ‘let them catch you reading, if you want a reader” philosophy all over again. Children take their queues on how to behave in grown up ways from the grown-ups they see.

Ok, off to get ready for work!

motherjanegoose

October 5th, 2009
7:24 am

Great points everyone! @ FCM hoorah for the reading. Perhaps preteens are more concerned about their friends,

I am proud to say that my kids will still take a hug and peck ( on the cheek) most anytime. I am in the same boat as DB, not a ritual but a habit.

I have called my 22 year old son while in the Pharmacy ( not often) and asked him a quick question, When I hang up, I say I LOVE YOU and he replies I LOVE YOU TOO. I met him for lunch last week before heading to the airport and hugged him when we both left…he was fine with it. My daughter often calls me ( while out of town) and tells me she loves me. I am blessed.

I rarely hugged my own Mom and she rarely told me she loved me or that she was proud of me.
I made certain that my kids would KNOW how I felt!

Have a great day all.

BRC

October 5th, 2009
8:06 am

@FCM – Ha! The lipstick on the bald head! Thanks for the chuckle this morning.

Michelle

October 5th, 2009
8:44 am

I usually take cues from the little guy if he wants PDA. If he gives me hugs and kisses, GREAT, if not, I don’t force them. I will usually give him a kiss and hug in the house BEFORE we go out to the bus. Then, at the bus stop, it’s just a shout out to have a good day.

My step sons will give hugs before they get out of the car. I would not expect them to give them in public though (at least in a social setting.)

I think as long as they are still giving/showing affection at home, it’s likely just a phase that we all go through!

Jesse's Girl

October 5th, 2009
9:01 am

Thank goodness my girls…5th and 7th graders don’t mind a smoochie-poo from mom! It may be coming, but for now…I’m still golden. Even The Boy jumps into my arms in front of his classmates!!! I know it is very likely to happen….specifically with my son. But as long as he keeps up the random “I love you’s”…I’ll be fine:) His favorite one…and I may need to consider this an insult at some point….is calling out “Hey mom! I love you”….as he is pooping.

YUKI

October 5th, 2009
9:03 am

It’s funny how I’ve never been a touchy-feely person, but now with my son I can’t stop hugging and kissing on him. I know he will get embarrassed about it as he gets older..that is totally normal and many kids go through that. There was a point in my life where anything and everything my parents did embarrassed me….even being seen in public was a nightmare! Now I cherish the time I have with my parents. I’m just going to enjoy him now because I know there will be a time when he will not want all that affection in front of his friends.

JJ

October 5th, 2009
10:08 am

My daughter and I are affectionate……I’m always kissing her head, her cheeks, etc. She still wants to snuggle when we watch tv, when she’s home…..

pd

October 5th, 2009
10:11 am

My son and I are very affectionate with one another at home, but when I drop him off at school every morning, we shake hands and I tell him good luck. I try to impress upon him that school is a place of business. He is only in first grade but knows what “professionalism” means.

Becky

October 5th, 2009
10:49 am

My two are still very lovey and kissey with me..In fact, I was sick the week of the flood and the Dr. told me not to be kissing on people..That was a very long weekend for them..They are used to me kissing on them a lot and vice versa..The boy would ask me about every 4-5 hours if it was ok to kiss me now?

I have a coworker that has a 18 year old son that still tells her everytime that he talks to her no matter where they are that he loves her..I have even told him when he comes into the office to see her, as he’s leaving that I love him and he tells me right back..I don’t think there is ever a wrong time and place for a child or parent to not tell their child that they love them..

@pd, wow..You really treat your son that way at school? I can’t imagine that..I have several coworkers that have children and at any given time during the day as I walk thru our sales office, I’m subject to hear any of them telling a child that they love them..Others may not agree with me, but I feel for your child..

pd

October 5th, 2009
10:57 am

“I feel for your child..”

Don’t. He is not deprived in anyway. We have a 45 minute drive to his school every morning. We feel very lucky for him to have been accepted to the school where he is. At home, he is silly and affectionate. At school, its time for business. He has never been admonished by a teacher for any reason, has never missed even one question on any test, has never missed a homework assignment, ect…

My coworkers would probably find it strange to know that I love hosting parties and having fun, because at work, I do not socialize. Time for business is time for business.

YUKI

October 5th, 2009
11:05 am

“School is a place of business”?? Oh brother…..the kid is in first grade! Give me a break. You sound like a ball of laughs….I’m just glad I’m lucky enough that my coworkers make my office a pleasant place to work……

YUKI

October 5th, 2009
11:09 am

…oh and if you are on this blog typing entries, it must not be all business…just sayin’!!!!

Becky

October 5th, 2009
11:19 am

YUKI…Amen..

pd

October 5th, 2009
11:21 am

Sorry I don’t kiss my son at school. He wouldn’t like me to do that, and I don’t like to do that.

But both of you can kiss something of mine.

I don’t judge the two of you for slobbering all over your kids in school. Don’t judge me for shaking my childs hand and wishing him luck. My kid knows I love him, he has no doubt. So far, my kid has been the model student student at school and devoted and loving child at home. No issues at all.

AND he is learning not to grow up to be a judgmental a hole like the two of you.

Becky

October 5th, 2009
11:32 am

Seems to me that you are the one that’s be so judgemental..No one has said that they don’t think your child is loved or a good student..I don’t recall saying that I slobbered all over my two…I just feel that all children need kisses and hugs..School can be a very freightening place for a child and to be put out with only a hand shake seems to be a little cold..

So put on your big girl panties and have some fun..Work doesn’t have to be so stuffy to get the job done..Thank goodness my work place is full of people that can work, have fun and still get the job done..This has been a great motto for us for 80 years now, so guess we’ll keep having fun..

YUKI

October 5th, 2009
11:34 am

Ok calm down. Touchy much? Nobody is saying you have to “slobber” all over your kids at school. Just saying that showing some affection at school is NORMAL if the kid is ok with it. If not, then no I would not be doing all of that AS I SAID earlier. I think there might be something wrong with you….and name calling is not necessary! Now get back to your “all business” PLEASE…..

pd

October 5th, 2009
11:46 am

If I were to type to the two of you that I pity your child due to your behavior, you would also be offended. I would bet that neither of your husbands are as devoted of a father as I am. As I stated, idrive a considerable distance for his education evryday. I also coach his sports team, get him to a different sports team on sat. Mornings, and teach his Sunday school. I don’t run off on weekends to golf or attend sports games. I wonder if either of your husbands drop your kids and pick them up daily and is so, do the displays of affection they offer meet your ideals.

Sarah

October 5th, 2009
11:59 am

@pd, ignore them. There are people on this blog that just like to stir up trouble. I read the blog but rarely join in because of that. According to some people, their opinion is the only worthwhile one.

Becky

October 5th, 2009
11:59 am

You would be right in saying that my husband isn’t a devoted father to these two, but he is a very devoted Poppy..Not by birth, but by choice..
I would not be offended if you said you felt sorry for my two..I stated an opinion, therefore no major reason to be offended..Wehn they were younger, we drove 400 miles round trip every weekend to have them for the weekend..They now live closer to us and yes, there have been many days and weekends when my husband has been there to do whatever they want to do..My husband and the boy are always building things, riding the motorcycle, riding a bicycle, fishing together..He has shown no interest in playing any kind of sport, so we haven’t pushed him..Most of the things that the guys do, the girl does with them..They have both expressed an interest in taking golf lessons( don’t know where that came from), so we have made that possible..

Now that you’ve just about broken you arm patting yourself on the back, go back to work and stop being so judgemental over opinions..As I said earlier though, maybe you do need to go out and have some fun, might take away some of the anger that you seem to have built up in you…

JJ

October 5th, 2009
12:03 pm

pd – your arrogance is showing.

So you drive a far distance for a good school, big deal. I sold a house and MOVED so my kid could get into a good school.

So you coach a sports team, again, big deal. I attended 5 years of softball games, in ALL kinds of weather, all over Gwinnett County.

And you teach sunday school, again, no big deal.

You aren’t doing anything different than the rest of us, for our kids. Sacrifices.

And 90% of us here on this blog sacrifice for our kids on a daily basis. I know I gave up alot of plans this weekend, as my daughter came home from college at the last minute and wanted to visit her friends, and took my car.

It’s called P A R E N T I N G!!!!!

Jesse's Girl

October 5th, 2009
12:12 pm

I enjoy a good slobber every now and again:) However, I think PD’s ways have more to do with respecting his/her son’s wishes. (sorry…don’t feel like reading all the way upo to see if you indicated your sex)

pd

October 5th, 2009
12:15 pm

If something ever should happen to one of you, god forbid, and your husband should decide to check momom blogs in order to maybe learn something from the perspective of mother’s, I hope that he will not be told that his children are to be pitied due to him not kissing them in public or some other seemingly insignificant detail. Good luck to all of you.

HB

October 5th, 2009
12:21 pm

Wow, y’all are hard on pd. He’s just pointing out that not giving hugs and kisses at school does not mean his kid his deprived of love. He has taught his child to treat school as a job and that jobs are a place to be more formal. I don’t see anything wrong with that. As part of that, he saves hugs and kisses for outside of school. So what? Maybe the business-like handshake in the morning makes his child feel like he’s heading off to important things for the day. Maybe it makes him feel more grown up, confident, and independent. Not being affectionate in the child’s “workplace” doesn’t mean he’ll feel deprived of love in general. It sounds like they’ve found what works for their family. Good for them!

YUKI

October 5th, 2009
12:30 pm

That’s right pd, you are a much better father than my husband and do much much more. You are a much better parent in general because you do not show affection to your kid at school. There. You happy now??? Unreal.

Geez, ladies...

October 5th, 2009
1:08 pm

…I believe pd is putting all of you on, and you keep taking the bait! Do you really believe ANYONE would “shake hands” with their first grader when dropping him/her off at school?

motherjanegoose

October 5th, 2009
1:47 pm

WOW…I have been off to work with the children and y’all are fighting without me….imagine it.

Yes, JJ my daughter too climbs into bed with me and brings the dog at night before she goes to bed.
We chat about our day and laugh at stuff together. I will miss her next year as she moves on to college but am enjoying what I have left of her time at home.

Since my family ( growing up) was not much on affection, I am determined to let me kids know I love them. This has been going on for years and they are both sweet to me ( for the most part). I am all about getting one’s work done at school but knowing that your parents love you ( no matter what) is more important to me for my kids. They have blossomed into wonderful young adults and have made me proud ( MOST of the time)…I am not too happy with the sink full of dishes that was left last night as no one remembered to empty the dishwasher and snacks were eaten after I headed up to bed….yuck! Guess I will have to tackle it!

YUKI

October 5th, 2009
2:11 pm

I’m picturing a little man getting out of the car at school, in a three piece suit,hair slicked back, shaking hands with his dad as he hands him his briefcase (instead of bookbag) and off he goes to start the day! :)

Regarless of what has been said here today, I think all kids should have plenty of affection but I also agree that when it becomes embarrassing to the child, then it can be saved for at home. That the end of what I’m going to say about that. bye!

JJ

October 5th, 2009
2:24 pm

Yuki, I had the same visual…LOL.

However, I have been thinking about pd’s post, and men just show their love differently, especially to their sons and other males. They are so afraid of being affectionate, and they want their sons to BE MEN……

As long as the child is loved, and knows he is loved, a handshake is ok in my book…….and I again, as I think about it, I have to say it’s kinda cute…….

My daughter hated me to kiss her when I dropped her off at school, especially high school. But I always got a “Bye Mom, I love you” as she got out of the car……

Becky

October 5th, 2009
2:42 pm

pd..How about a truce? Again, I didn’t mean to start a war here..As for my husband reading this blog to find out how I feel about kissing in public, that would be ok with me, he knows how I feel..If this makes you and your child happy, great..It’s just that I grew up in a family of that never hugged or kissed much and to me that wasn’t a good thing..This is why I hug and kiss mine every chance that I get…

JJ

October 5th, 2009
3:22 pm

Becky, I do too, because you never know. Something could happen and your loved one(s) could be taken away at any given moment. That’s why I feel its SO important to show your love, and say I love you. Everytime I hang up the phone with my daughter, mom and/or brother, I say I love you. That’s one regret I don’t want when they are gone. I wish I had said it more to my Dad before he passed away.

Heck I tell my friends I love them too…….

Sheri

October 5th, 2009
3:52 pm

Wow, now that everyone has called a truce… I’ll continue this on… I have 2 boys, 11 1/2 and 4. My older son offers hugs to me daily, he sees it on my face when i come home from a very long day, and that is remarkable in my book from a sixth grade boy. Since he was born, every night I would lay him in his bed and the last words of the day were I love you, good night, and they still are to this day. In the mornings, (sorry I don’t do the bus stop walk with him) our parting words are Love you, Love you too, and have a good day, see you this afternoon!!! He and I may be past the kissing stage, but the hugs, the I Love You’s, and the occasional good wrestling tickling match still exist and I’m sure they will until the end of our time. He too is the kid who says Love you too back to me on the phone no matter who he is around, and that is impressive as well to me.

Now my 4 year old son does not fall short on any type of affection, he’s always hugging me, always kissing me, always saying I love you mom as he flies by me in his rampid running about!!! Sometimes he even stops in the middle of the running and playing to just come give me a quick kiss. But then there are the days when it’s getting towards dinner time, and I stop and in a teasing way say to him… we’ve forgotten something today, and he thinks for a minute and says, Oh (with a smile) and blows me a kiss from across the room!! Works for me!!

I hope as my boys grow up that they still WANT to tell me they love me, give me that hug, or blow me that kiss, because not that I think of it as Mom PDA, I think of it as more a mutual loving and caring respect for one another in our family.

I think this has been a good topic, could have left out the bickering but atleast it’s back on track!!!!

HUGS AND KISSES to ALL!!! :-D

Vork

October 5th, 2009
4:01 pm

Helicopter parents…..(sigh)

Becky

October 5th, 2009
4:02 pm

I have grown nephews and nieces that to this day say I love you..I have one nephew that is full of tattoos and to most people “diffrent” looking..But any time that he comes to my office, when he leaves, he tells me that he loves me..

JJ, I tell my coworkers that I love them and as I said earlier, their is one coworker that I tell both of her grown children that I love them and they say it back..Again, it’s each to their own..

Sarah and Sheri, sorry that y’all feel that way..That’s what makes me read here (and post) the fact that we can all agree or not, but at the end of it, it’s still just a blog..

Off topic, did anyone watch The Next Iron Chef last night? Boy, some of that food was pretty nasty sounding and looking..Stan, are you out there? Have you ever heard of most of those things?

Stan

October 5th, 2009
4:14 pm

Yeah Becky I saw some TNIC last night. I didn’t see all the “food” but has heard of at least most of it. I think grasshoppers/crickets was one that I knew of that is popular in Mexico. Agree that most of did not look like food I would enjoy cooking. :)

April

October 5th, 2009
5:45 pm

A kid need to know that. even if the teacher has to speak to him or her or they miss a question on a test, mom and dad love him or her no matter what. Perhaps that comes up in the quarterly performance review.

Tiffany

October 5th, 2009
9:46 pm

Come on, y’all. The comments to pd got a little bit out of hand…I think he sounds like a GREAT dad. Any kid would be lucky to have a dad that wants to drive him to school every day for one thing- and he also coaches sports, ect. Of course it is sweet that he shakes hands with his son before school! It sounds like he is doing a pretty good job so far!
For those of you that have kids that love all the kissing, ect. Count your blessings! Some children are more touchy-feely people, same as parents. There are many other ways to show your love. Just make sure that your children know you love them!

jess

October 6th, 2009
12:26 pm

nothing as embarassing as having your little nephew walk in on you while I’m using my jack rabbit!

FCM

October 6th, 2009
7:08 pm

I asked this question out loud to my children just now. One child said when they are 100 years old (not sure if the parent is 100 or the child in this scenario). Then I got the reply that it is when one of them dies.

Now I know my children are still young (7 & 9) so this may/will change over time. It just makes the heart feel good on a gray day!

FCM

October 6th, 2009
7:09 pm

jess…next time lock your door.