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!
“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?