I’d say a whole lot! We have known that physical touch is an emotional communicator to both children and adult. Touch is a very important part of the physical closeness of two people that we can not achieve at a distance. It gives us a sense of connection and belonging. We need physical touch to achieve a whole lot on a daily basis.
Naturally many parents and adults pick up an infant, hold him/her, cuddle, kiss, squeeze the child so much that they can barely breathe (reminds me of mama coco in the cartoon “Coco”) and speak meaningful nonsense to them. Physical touch from another can draw forth strong emotional experiences and awaken the human connection in us.
Long before the child understands the meaning of love, these acts to him are love and they yearn for it every day. Research has shown that babies who are handled more often develop better emotionally, physically, and socially, than babies that are not.
Hugging, kissing, patting, holding hands are all ways of communicating love to a child and to an adult. The hugging and kissing of a teenager will differ from the hugging and kissing of an infant. Your teenager may not appreciate such behavior before his peers but you can rest assured it doesn’t mean he hates to be touched.
Notice that if your teenager is regularly coming up behind you and grabbing your arms, lightly pushing you, grabbing you by the ankle when you walk through the room, tripping you, those are all indications that ” physical touch” is important to him, contrary to general belief of some who may say, “he’s just being naughty“.
Observe yourself and how you express love to others. Observe your children too. Watch how they express love to others. Take note of the things they request of you. Many times their request will be in keeping with their own love language they understand.
Notice the things for which they are most appreciative. Some children appreciate ” quality time”, some “long walks in the cool of the evening”, some ” sleeping in your arms”, some “taking a drive or dive with you”, and many other things. It’s your job as a parent, guardian, to look for these indicators.
As parents, we often try to pour all our children into the same mold. Every one of us is different, and what communicates love to one may not communicate to another.
Peace and Love
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