Welcome to Kira's Blog

Welcome to My Blog

Life with young children can be challenging, but with the support and advice of friends, we can feel empowered and thankful for the blessing of being a Mom.

My musings are those of a self-proclaimed attachment-parenting Tiger mom, who juggles full-time mommying with a small (but growing!) baby-related business. I hope some of my thoughts help you
Enjoy your day, Enjoy your night, and Enjoy your kids!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Healthy Touch

I recently read a study (sorry- I can't remember where) that discussed the importance of physical contact* with your child - a hug, a high-five, or even just a pat on the back. Touch is a subconscious reminder of the intimate connection between parent and child. Both benefit from this contact, as it calms and focuses their attentions. Parents are more understanding and patient, while children feel supported and accepted.

Unfortunately, older children - and especially teens - can go days without being touched by their parent(s). Babies are coddled and constantly shown affection, but the relationship with older children becomes primarily verbal - in some cases exclusively so. This is especially true of father-daughter relationships, as Dads become uncomfortable showing any sort of physical affection while daughters grow and change. According to the study, this often has an impact on daughters, who are more likely to seek physical male affection elsewhere (!)

For some of us, it takes some effort to touch our children, even in some small way, daily. Did you give a kiss before he headed to school? Did you rub her shoulders as she was sitting doing homework? Did you tousle his hair in congratulations for a job well done?

In fact, this same principle holds true for spouses and close friends - a welcoming hug, a high-five, or even a pat on the arm, create a sense of solidarity and connection.

As children grow, they continue to learn from their parents, especially with regard to relationship-building and maintenance. Parents who continue to provide physical contact with their children encourage them to feel comfortable with their bodies and also appreciate the subtleties of different forms and styles of touch. In contrast, those parents who withdraw physical touch fail to teach their children about healthy adult (non-sexual) physical interaction. After all, when all touch is "taboo" then a naive teen will easily misinterpret a handshake, a tap on the shoulder, or a hug. Healthy touching leads to more confidence in teen years and a better understanding of what is "ok" and what is not.

Pay attention to how often you touch your child - and challenge yourself to increase it and see how it affects the relationship. I'd be glad to hear what happens...

*It goes without saying that this post refers to affectionate and absolutely *non-sexual* contact. Obviously, anything breaching that would constitute abuse.