Thursday, April 30, 2009

When Kids Grow Up

My son turned 5 years old earlier this month. Certainly quite a milestone in a young child's life. After all, that's half a decade! Alas, I am sad to report that he has grown up in many other ways, other than just turning 5. Gone is a good night kiss, replaced with a kiss blown in my general direction. *sigh*sigh*

He thinks that he is "too big" to give his mommy a kiss. I knew this day would eventually come. I just didn't think it'd happen now. He is my oldest child and my only son, so in many ways he is still my baby.

Here are some tips to help you cope when your baby becomes too big for affection:
  1. Your child may feel too "old" for public displays of affection, even if it's a quick kiss good night. My son went through a phase when he was about 3 years old and decided that he could not give his grandpa or uncle a kiss anymore "because they were boys and he was not a baby anymore", so we compromised and taught him to give them a handshake.
  2. Recognize that your child is not rejecting you. Your child still loves you. The first time my son blew me a kiss, I was flabbergasted. It really left me speechless. I thought, "Why won't he give me a kiss?" And I wondered where in the world he got the idea to just blow me a kiss. After a few nights of this occurring, and still feeling flabbergasted, I changed my perspective. I tried to look at the situation from his view. He still loves me, I know he does. He demonstrates his love lots of hugs; he asks me to play games with him; he wants to sit next to me at dinner; he asks me to cover him up with his blanket. So I really can't complain that he doesn't give me a kiss goodnight, because technically he is, it's just in the form a blown kiss towards me.
  3. Be patient with your child and give her/him their space. Don't force your child to give you a hug or kiss. As much as our daughter loves her daddy, she will not give him a kiss good night if Mommy is in the same room...well, actually, the same house. She has been this way she she was about a year old. At first, Joshua felt really rejected and couldn't understand what was wrong. It was a real downer for him. So we had to change perspective. I now hold our daughter and say, "Don't you give your daddy a kiss!" and she laughs and giggles, ducks her head, and Joshua gives her a peck on her forehead or back of her head, whatever he can reach. As long as we get giggles, we know she is happy and it makes my husband happy as well. If she fights it, then we drop the issue and understand that she's just not in the mood.
  4. Don't pull away from your child just because he/she pulled away from you first. Simply put, don't do it.
  5. Make time to tell your child that you love them--not just once, but consistently throughout the day. As mothers, we are nurturers by nature. Give your child the space he/she needs, but don't let them go completely. I always give my children a hug and a kiss and tell them I love them when they wake up in the morning, when I leave to go to work, when I come home, when they go to bed, and I reaffirm my love to them all throughout the day. I have a rule in my house that no one leaves without being told that they are loved. It warms my heart when my children walk up to me and tell me they love me. I know that, if I feel good hearing them pronounce their love for me and give me a big squeeze, then I know it makes them feel good as well to have the same come from me.

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