What Wise Moms Know: The Priceless (Healthy) Gift of Hugs and Kisses

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Want to improve your children’s lives?

Studies show that hugging someone you love can ease their stress and anxiety, and kissing your kids helps them become resilient adults.

Here two moms write about the importance of hugs and kisses with their kids—of varying ages. The bottom line: showing affection never gets old.

Hugs in Progress by Kathy Radigan

The other night I was in my bed peacefully sleeping next to my husband when I was awoken by loud knocking and the cries of my youngest child saying, “Open the door mommy, I need a hug.”

I wasn’t thrilled to be shocked out of my slumber, but I was grateful that all it took to make a nine-year-old nightmare better was a hug from me.

I could feel my stress and annoyance melt away as his skinny arms wrapped around me. All of a sudden my cozy bed didn’t hold as much appeal.

My days of being comforter-in-chief feel numbered. Peter is now the only member of my family that is shorter than I am.

When I want to hug my 16-year-old son, Tom, I have to stand on my toes. His once soft baby cheeks are now in need of a shave. One minute he wants to be left alone, and the next he wants my undivided attention.

Truth be told, he doesn’t always act so huggable.

But he still needs them. I sometimes forget that.

Especially when he flashes me some lovely teen attitude or acts surprised that once again the sun has risen, and it’s time for school.

Yesterday Tom was hunched over the dining room table studying for a test. Mountains and mountains of paper were all around him. I was tempted to comment on his lack of organization. But as I looked into his big blue eyes I knew he didn’t need a lesson—he needed a hug.

I put my arms around him, and I could feel him relax.

My hugs are still magic.


Our Kissing Ritual by Estelle Erasmus

I am getting ready to leave the house, and a lilting voice stops me. “Mommy, don’t forget my kiss,” says my daughter. I’m always happy to oblige.

There is a famous nursery rhyme that says, “There was a little girl with a little curl in the middle of her forehead. When she was good she was very good and when she was bad she was horrid.

That verse reminds me of my five-year-old, who has the emotional makeup of an adolescent seesawing back and forth between wanting closeness with her mama and oh-so-fiercely demanding independence.

I worry that our fights over her not wanting to wear a coat in the winter (a non-negotiable), or carrying on when she doesn’t get ice cream after devouring birthday cake at a party (have you seen the sugar monster she turns into?) will derail our closeness as she grows older

Studies show that a close bond between mother and daughter can mitigate some of the storms of adolescence.

Although I have always kissed and cuddled with her since she was an infant, as she grew I’ve created a kissing ritual that she craves. It goes like this: I kiss her in the morning, I kiss her at bedtime and I kiss her before I leave the house to do an errand.

These aren’t perfunctory kisses either. These are not subtle pecks on the cheek; these are “come here honey let me love you and gobble you up” kinds of kisses.

Now she asks for them, “Mommy, please don’t forget my kiss.” And I don’t. Ever.

In these kisses, which she returns, she can rest safe in my love, and I in hers, no matter the storms that come between.



Parenting: The Hero’s Journey.



Author: Kathy Radigan & Estelle Erasmus

Editor: Travis May

Photos: Via the authors



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About Kathy Radigan & Estelle Erasmus

Estelle Erasmus is a journalist and former magazine editor who has been published in The Washington Post On Parenting, Purple Clover, Brain, Child, Marie Claire and more. She blogs at Musings on Motherhood & Midlife. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Kathy Radigan posts an essay each Sunday on her blog, My dishwasher’s possessed! and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and What the Flicka. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.



40 Responses to “What Wise Moms Know: The Priceless (Healthy) Gift of Hugs and Kisses”

  1. pagemanuel says:

    So endearing! I know my days are numbered too especially when it comes to PDA. But at least at home, my hugs and kisses are still sought out and still work like magic for stressful situations. I'm glad that we have these hugs and kisses as no-fail conduits between our love-filled souls and our loved ones.What a blessing!

  2. Aww, ladies I am with you and a huge hugger, who am truly hoping that neither of my own girls outgrow my hugs or affection. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this and definitely made me smile today!! 🙂

  3. Cathy says:

    We are big huggers and believe it's a reinforcement of our love. Of course now that our son is 22 the hugs aren't as tight, but still there. And still the love. PS Since I have curly hair my mother and grandmother always recited the nursery rhyme about there was a little girl with a curl right in the middle of her forehead.

  4. Robin Masshole Mommy says:

    Well then my boys are golden. I am always giving them hugs and kisses 🙂

  5. Stacie says:

    I dread the day when my kids say, "Mom! Don't do that! My friends are here!" =(

  6. Toni McCloe says:

    What a great post – actually two. I felt the love. Reading it made me feel warm on this cold, snowy day.

  7. Yes, yes and yes, so important. i think we know this now, but maybe not so much when I was growing up.

  8. Beautiful, both of you. Just beautiful!
    I cannot get enough hugs from my adult kids or my grandkids and when
    they tell me they need a hug my heart feels like it might burst.

  9. Pam says:

    I always loved hugging my kids when they were little. My daughter went through the no-touching stage, but now that she's an adult, sometimes she just needs a hug from mom. My son is in the no hug stage though.

  10. apleasanthouse says:

    Just the other day my grown daughter texted me with a MOM I NEED A BIG HUG! God bless her. So did Mommy. Love this post.

  11. Karen Hug says:

    I'm big on hugs, my kids don't seems to mind it either and they are 14! I also hug my dogs a lot, they need it too!

  12. Gina says:

    Ah….there is nothing like a mother's hugs & kisses. And, frankly, there is nothing quite as sweet as your child – no matter their age – melting into your hug or asking for a kiss. My son & daughter are 8 and sometimes I feel smothered by their need for my affection, but articles like this are a great reminder about how lucky I really am. Thank you!

  13. Liz Mays says:

    I loved when my kids would ask for hugs. My daughter still does and she's an adult!

  14. Debbie says:

    Awesome sweet post. I still get and give hugs.

  15. Jeanine says:

    Oh, This is great. My kids get overly annoyed with my mushy hugs and kisses constantly but I love it!

  16. Sweet posts. There is NOTHING better than hugs from little loved ones. The way a person hugs says much about them, and I love that my adult daughters and my adorable grandsons do the hugging just right.

  17. Such a sweet post. I can so relate to Kathy’s hugs for her boys. I’ve got a nine year old and a 13 year old in need of a shave and showing the occasional teen attitude. I don’t want them to grow up, but they will. I never get tired of our hugs.

  18. Veronica says:

    Hugs are still a thing in my home but they draw the line at the kiss. Lol. they are 17 and 13 now

  19. Catherine S says:

    What a great post. When my son little I got all the hugs and kisses I wanted. Now that he is 18 all I get is a hug goodnight. I miss all the snuggle time.

  20. Marcie W. says:

    Not only do I savor and enjoy receiving affection from my own babies, but I still love hugging my own mom. I certainly feel grateful that I can still act as both the mother and the child.

  21. Jenny Temcio says:

    Hugs and kisses are always appreciated and are always given. I'm sure any mother would agree.

  22. My son is 16 and to this day there is nothing better than a hug and a kiss from him. It’s amazing what a hug can do!

  23. Crystal says:

    I still feel comforted by a hug from my mom! My kids get a ton of affection, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

  24. janieemaus says:

    This was so sweet and it reminds me of how I am today with my granddaughter. We always kiss goodbye. And I always hug my grandson.

  25. I am a huge hugger and kisser. I love getting kisses from my kids as well.

  26. Tracey says:

    This is an awesome post! It totally warmed my heart and made me smile.

  27. @mommieagain says:

    What sweet stories. We hug and kiss all the time. I hope my little one never grows out of giving us love with hugs!!

  28. Christie says:

    Hugs and kisses do make the difference! I make sure to give my kids both daily

  29. Theresa says:

    My oldest declared she didn't want hugs anymore when she was in second grade. So we started, HOW- hugs on weekends. So, every weekend day, so gets a hug anyway. I think she looks forward to them now!

  30. Rosey says:

    I love the hugs and snuggles I get from my little guy. He's starting to outgrow it a teensy bit and I miss it already. 🙂

  31. marina john says:

    Awww, my kids love hugs and kisses. I dread the day they wont any longer!

  32. katrinagehman says:

    no such thing as to many hugs from the kids. I love it. they know nothing but to love us. so sweet.

  33. thriftyjinxy says:

    My nephew at 6 is hitting the age where he doesn't always want hugs and kisses. But he has NO CHOICE! 🙂

  34. Latoicha says:

    My daughter wants a hug everyday. My son is pulling away but every now and then he asks for a hug and I happily oblige.

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