Parental Affection: No More Kisses?

My son and I have started a new “tradition.” When we say goodbye or good night, we make the “I love you” sign with our hands and “tink.”

(Think gentle high five with folded fingers.) 

We still “pound fists,” hug and kiss – but our “tink” is something special that we recently started doing.

I love it!

Crash has a difficult time making the “ILY” sign with his 2-year-old hands and brain, but he’s working on it. (Right now, it just looks like he has a hand cramp.)

Actually executing the “love you tink” is secondary. I’m excited about the moment when he truly understands what it means. When I tuck my two middle fingers, extend my thumb and reach out to touch his little hand, I’m saying:

– I love you with every ounce of my soul;

– I won’t let anyone or anything hurt you, and

– I will lay my life on the line to protect you.

It’s a simple gesture, but it means a lot to me because it’s ours AND it has the potential to have longevity. I hope we’re still doing it when he graduates from high school and college, when he gets married and when he has kids of his own.

– – –

As I started formulating this blog post in my head, I tried to remember how this display of love and affection started. Honestly, I think it was a subconscious accident – because I recently began thinking about parental affection, and where I stand on this extremely fine line.

The catalyst: I saw a dad and his 8-year-old son kiss on the lips.

Right then and there, I decided to nix this display of affection when Crash turns 3 in February. Right now, those pecks are so sweet, but we can’t be puckering up after he throws a no-hitter in Little League, earns his black belt in karate or wins the regional spelling bee.

Kisses and babies are completely different ballgame, and even though my son is rapidly growing into a little boy – he’s still a baby to me.

The clock is ticking, though.

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9 Comments on “Parental Affection: No More Kisses?”

  1. texasmortician
    June 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm #


    Adding a little culture to your piece may exponentially complicate your topic. I have to say, though, that my very Mexican father was an expert at affection. It was fueled by his father being almost affection-less.

    I have two girls, so, I’m good. I think the expiration date on kissing my girls (certainly not on the lips, though) has no expiration. But, boys? Not sure, brother. I’d vote on your side, though. Lips are kinda weird to me, too.

    Loving the tinking.


    • Drew Myers
      June 4, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

      Thanks, Javier. It’s such an interesting topic. I appreciate your insight. DM

  2. Will
    June 4, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    It all depends on the people and the relationship. Personally, I think 3 is a bit young to stop kissing your son. But I also agree that 8 is a bit old. My guess is that this is something that kids will typically stop doing on their own as they get older. I don’t think it’s something I’ll have to tell my boys to stop doing.

    Good topic. I’m interested in seeing what others say.

  3. Ryan Crowe
    June 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    Hmm… as someone who still has to kiss his dad, I take the “I dunno” approach. I can recount a number of places where it’s been awkward, but at the same time, I know my dad loves me. Currently, I welcome my not-quite-2-year-old giving me a kiss, even when it’s slobbery and may or may not leave me with cracker crumbs on my face.

    • Drew Myers
      June 4, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

      Ryan, love this perspective. And I’m with you about the kisses now…they’re wonderfully great. DM

  4. Jason
    June 4, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    I don’t think it has to be so extreme one way or the other. The “tink” sounds cool, it just seems contrived. Like you’re planning how to show affection to your son. Even scheduling dates. How about a hug and kiss on the head? A kiss doesn’t have to mean puckering up.

    • Drew Myers
      June 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

      Jason, thanks for the comment. Like I said in the post – our “tink” happened accidently. You’re right, though…there is no doubt that I’m over-thinking this. Kind of how I operate. I appreciate your feedback. DM

  5. Greg Walters
    June 4, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    So here’s my two bits, gather up all the affection you can, don’t let a moment pass you by, modify your technique as he gets older sure but appreciate right now that he LOVES YOU! Not because of the healthful head of hair you have or that your jokes are funny or that you blog in a relevant
    fashion but because its pure love. It will always be there but its going to take on many faces as the years go by, there will be times he may not want even a handshake from you. And Drew on your death bed the one thing you’re not going to say is “I wish I had kissed my son less than I did”.

  6. sillygirlstarlet
    June 5, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    I don’t know. I mean, people (grown, manly men) in Russia or Italy kiss on the lips and it’s normal. I would say, let Crash decide when face kisses are over. He will know when it is awkward. You still have a few more kissable years left. And you don’t want him to think showing affection isn’t manly. It is. He’ll learn manliness by watching you love his mother and take care of and lead your family and stand up for what is right when it’s hard. Not by withholding a particular kind of display of affection. 😉

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