Hugs and Kisses | Giftie Etcetera: Hugs and Kisses

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hugs and Kisses

I went to two birthday parties yesterday, At one, the recipient was an adorable one year old. His mommy thanked everyone for the gifts after she helped him open them. At the other, the nine year old birthday girl, who lives out of state and doesn't know us really well, was told by her parents to stop unwrapping after each gift, find the person who gave them the gift, and give them a hug and say thanks.

I'm no Ms. Manners, certainly. I believe manners are terribly important, mostly because they help keep peace and serenity. But I don't handwrite thank you notes after a child's birthday party. I guess I'm a manners moderate.

But I thought it was awkward and unnecessary to have a little girl hug every single guest at the party. And I thought it was crazy time-consuming to seek out the gift-givers, return to the area where the little kids were watching the opening of gifts, open the next gift, and walk away to search again. It dragged things on beyond the patience of kids.

I note with appreciation the parents' intent to teach politeness. I suspect my discomfort with the whole thing comes from my aversion to hugging people. Couldn't the nine year old just say thanks? Maybe, if you really want to show appreciation, she could go around AFTER unwrapping all the gifts and thank people personally?

I think it even goes beyond politeness at birthday parties. It's the whole expectation that kids have to hug and kiss everyone goodbye that bothers me. Grandma? Yes, she gets a hug and kiss. But if your toddler sees his great uncle twice a year or your preschooler sees his aunt once every month or two, why should he has to let them into his personal space and hug them. Couldn't he just politely wave to people he barely knows, like grown-ups do? Isn't it scary and weird to hug someone that, though mom and dad may know them well, is practically a stranger?



learn-2-walk said...

You obviously did not grow up in an Italian family. :-)

Rachel said...

Yeah, but if EVERYONE is hugging and kissing, that's different. I tend to agree with Kristy - don't make the kids be that physically affectionate unless they want to.

-Knowles said...

I've taken my friend's advice and implemented a "kissing spot" on my kids' heads so that others don't kiss them on the lips. They can choose whom they want to kiss and otherwise will hopefully learn inappropriate behavior. I believe in personal space and don't want to hug everyone either!

learn-2-walk said...

I wasn't disagreeing with Kristy, it's certainly a personal's just we grew up hugging and kissing everyone, didn't matter whether you hadn't seen them in a while or had never met them before, it's just what you did and there wasn't an option for being comfortable or uncomfortable with it. It's what we were taught, right along with please and thank you and everything else that you teach your children about social norms and what is culturally accepted and expected.

Frog said...

I tend to follow Leah. Just Saturday we went to a party for one of Tad's teachers. We had never met her family and one uncle hugged me and kissed me. I don't take offense. Some people are just friendlier than others. When we see family we do tell Tad to hug them and tell them hello when we get there. That's just how we are.

Derwinicus said...

Kirsi is a hugger and cheek-kisser. Comes from growing up in Chile. Everyone does that when you greet them and then say good-bye. As for going up and giving gift-givers a hug and thank-you, I don't think it's a bad thing but I would make my kids do it.