Growing up, my family was not much into hugs, cuddles, kisses or even saying, “I love you.” Those things were all supposed to be understood and assumed, especially in Korean culture. Babies were held and taken care of, but as we grew older, no one snuggled with us before bed or grabbed us for an impromptu hug. It just wasn’t something our family did. I still remember feeling deeply uncomfortable if our more Americanized relatives would ask for hugs. To this day, I still feel awkward giving hugs as greetings. I am definitely not the kind of person with a lot of public displays of affection.
I grew up with the brain knowledge that my parents loved me, but my heart grew up with a lot of uncertainty. It shaped the way that I felt love and showed my love. (Since college, though, my extended family receives hello and good-bye hugs from me – I’m working on it!)
Becoming a parent, though, threw a lot of those things upside down for me. I am definitely much more affectionate with my daughter and love giving her hugs and kisses. We probably shower her with “I love you” and physical affection numerous times a day. For this month’s sponsored post, Stonyfield asked us to consider this article from Babble.com, titled “The One Question You Should Ask Your Child Tonight“, and I was intrigued.
I know how I feel loved and I thought that I knew how my daughter would answer, but I was surprised. Here are her responses:
“When you give me hugs.”
“When we snuggle together.”
“I love cuddling with you. That’s when I feel loved.”
“When I get to sleep in your bed.”
“Sitting on your lap.”
“When we do a family squish.”
I was starting to see a pattern. I was a bit taken aback because I never considered that my daughter would feel loved through physical affection since that wasn’t something that was usually on my radar. Giving hugs, cuddles and doing family squishes (where we all do a big group hug with our daughter in the middle and squeeze) are just a part of our normal routines and life. They aren’t these special set-aside times. I was expecting my daughter to say it was when we went out on our little dates or when she received small gifts and surprises or when we went to her favorite restaurant to eat. It turns out that feeling loved doesn’t sprout from out of the ordinary things, but from the ordinary, everyday things.
It was an enlightening conversation for me and I am so glad that I had it with her. It helped me to be more intentional about how I am with her and why those hugs are so important. When things aren’t going well or she is getting disciplined for something, I know it’s important to follow up with lots of hugs and cuddles. I never would have considered that prior to this conversation or would have known the importance of it. I also think that this is a question that I will ask as time passes because her answers may change as she gets older. I know the way I feel loved has changed for me since I was younger.
Have you asked your child this one question? What do you think they would say? I hope this conversation gives you a glimpse into their beautiful hearts as it did for me.
In exchange for this blog post, I received coupons for a variety of Stonyfield yogurt products. This month, we baked sugar and gingerbread cookies and crumbled them over our whole milk vanilla yogurt. It was our own version of “milk” and cookies. All opinions, words and thoughts are always my own.