Growing up in Panama, surrounded by a large extended family, the Kiss and Half Hug was obligatory. Don't know what I'm talking about? It's what you do whenever you arrive at your aunt's house, or whenever your cousins came over, and you immediately planted a kiss on their cheek along with sort of a sideways embrace. Then when they left you did it all over again. Even if it was just a 15-minute visit. That's just the way things were.
Now twice in the last couple of weeks, I've wondered what to do about the fact that my own boys aren't showing that sort of physical affection with family members.
Granted, my sons have never met my aunt and grandmother, the victims of the non-kisses. On separate occasions (and they are from different sides of the family), both of these fine ladies wanted kisses from my kids as we were ending visits. And both times, my kids turned their cheeks.
In our household, we show a lot of affection. But my kids aren't used to being around family, as only my mom and brother live locally. I'm not sure that I want to force them to kiss and hug people that they just met, but at the same time I want my kids to be courteous and respectful.
I'm just wondering how to accomplish that, and whether my expectations are too high. My oldest is not even 4 years old, and I can't remember when my manners began to kick in. I would welcome any suggestions on how to tell my boys that proper greetings, especially for visiting family members, are a good thing.