By now, a lot of adults know about the five love languages. There are five categories used to classify the ways that people show love to one another. People generally have one or two they consider 'their' love language (one that indicates the way they prefer to either receive or give), but most of us have some mix involved.
For kids, love is a lot simpler; they understand it only in its most basic terms. They know love is hugs, kisses, and compliments. What else could they need? Some believe that even that is a bit too much for kids, with one father being on the receiving end of some kissing criticism.
Critiques about the way we live our lives can often plant a seed of insecurity, leading us to hide ourselves in shame. This can develop into deeply-rooted confidence issues, ones that are hard to shake.
A Family's Foundation
The ways people show affection to their family can differ greatly depending on upbringing. Some families are just not very touchy as a whole, so there's little physical affection, like hugs or kisses being shared at gatherings. Others are very affectionate, making a big show of it and considering it important to how they bond with one another.
To those who grew up in one type of household, seeing the opposite kind of behavior can seem so alien. When that happens online, people might get a large amount of pushback from those who don't seem to approve.
Too Much Attention
This is what happened to a man named Tom, who runs a TikTok account with just over 316k followers.
He was the subject of a recent debate online regarding how a parent, particularly a father, should show physical affection to their kid.
It all began with a video wherein Tom kissed his young son on the lips. The video was originally a response to a comment about his eyes, which are a pale and striking blue.
Not The Point
He then explains that he doesn't even have the nicest eyes in the house, bringing his son on so he can show off his eyes, which are even brighter than his dad's. The two then share a brief kiss on the lips before Tom says it's not a filter, just good genes, and the video ends.
The video now has almost 350k views and a good amount of comments, many of them debating the appropriateness of the short peck the two shared.
Tom found the discussion pretty ridiculous, having made a few follow-up videos, many of which having even more views than the original.
The first one is in response to a comment that reads, "Just gorgeous both but don't kiss him on the lips." Tom opens the video by saying, "Where to start with this one? I put up a video of me and my little boy. I kiss him on the lips. He's five years old. And that is what she picks up on. That is what she finds worrying."
No Plan To Stop
"I find it worrying that it bothers you, right. I will kiss my son, my five-year-old child on the lips for as long as I deem necessary, and as long as he lets me, right. 'Cause I will love him to bits and he's my best pal. And one day, he won't want me to. And he probably won't want much to do with me. So for now, I'll carry on as I am."
Tom spoke to Bored Panda about the ordeal, discussing his reaction to the initial wave of debate.
It's Just Love
"My first reaction to the couple of strange comments regarding kissing my child was exactly what I responded to be honest, that I will just carry on as I am," he explained. "To think that you can tell a loving father not to show his son affection at just 5 years old is a very scary and worrying comment, it says more about that person than it does about me."
When asked why he thought people got so hung up on it, he admitted that he didn't know. "I don't understand, and I am glad I don't, why giving your child a peck on the lips or him giving me one is anything but the love between a father and his young son."
Others Need Help
"My sons are my best friends, along with their amazing Mummy Brooke, so no one will ever stop me showing them how loved they are."
Furthermore, he believes there are other, more important things to worry about when it comes to the well-being of a stranger's children. "So many kids grow up in homes where they feel unloved and not listened to. Maybe concentrate on helping those, instead of trying to pull down a proud father loving his young child and showing his kids every day how amazing they are."
A Father's Affection
Thankfully, it wasn't all hate for the proud father of two, there were nice comments too. "I really appreciate every positive comment that has come, even though I am struggling to respond to them all," he said. "The ones that stand out are the ones from other fathers saying they do the exact same and will never stop."
He's definitely setting a wonderful example for those parents, or future parents who are unsure about the limits regarding things like this.
The Societal Norm
Experts even weighed in, assuring that what Tom was doing is fine. Australian Psychologist Heather Irvine-Rundle spoke on the situation, saying she thinks it's unbelievable that some people tell parents they can't kiss their kids. "It absolutely does not take into account a special relationship that parents have with their children and the non-sexual nature from which that particular behavior comes.
"[Kissing is] a really comfortable thing for people to do even into adulthood. It's not sexual at all, and I think the fact that it's something we're happy to do in public means that there's nothing sinister about it."
All Around Us
Though opinions may vary and no parent is under any obligation to kiss their kids the way Tom does with his sons, the debate was still far more serious than it ever should have been.
We shouldn't demonize affection. Unless one party is genuinely in danger, affection is something that should be celebrated and encouraged! Open displays of kindness, of love, and of closeness help people become more comfortable expressing those same things in their own relationships. Love begets love, and why would anyone be upset about that?
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