Sunday, March 02, 2008

Hugging Limits

Being a somewhat paranoid parent, I find myself supporting the no more than two second hug rule - better still would be a complete ban on hugging at school. Growing up in a culture and time when hugging or kissing in school was not permissible, I don't recall our friendships having suffered for the lack of physical contact. We confided in our best friends both boy and girl. When someone was upset the rest of us comforted him or her - a lot of it was about empathy, talking and listening. It made for a bond of friendship that has stood the test of time.

A hug is a very comforting thing but one assumes the kids has the parents, siblings and other family to provide that essential emotional nurture. It does not need to come from classmates in school -if indeed classmates are standing in for a child's emotionally absent parents and family, that is a serious concern.

When kids have always been allowed to hug each other, it seems very unnatural for them to stop doing so just because they became teenagers. When such a ban hits them at fourteen, they are right to be outraged and protest. As for me, I have not waited for the school system to publish acceptable limits for public display of affection. From the time J started going to daycare, she has known not to hug anyone at anytime unless I have explicitly told her it is okay to do so.

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