My assignment as a young reporter at the Grand Rapids Press was to write a feature story on a top local wrestler.
I visited the house, sat at the family kitchen table talking to the wrestler’s dad. It was mid afternoon when the four kids — two boys and two girls — stood by their father’s side.
They were on their way to practice, to the mall and just to hang out with friends. The dad excused himself briefly from the interview and kissed each of his children on the lips before they departed. That became part of the story.
A dad kisses his teenage children on the lips before they leave for school or leave for a big match. He said that’s the way he shows love. It felt strange to me.
My son Brandon is 18. I last kissed him on the cheek when he was a toddler. When I say good bye to daughter Celine I hug her and cry because I know I won’t see her for many months because she attends school in California.
I kiss my wife. I do not kiss my kids. Maybe I should.
I just know that I did not like being fussed over when I was a kid. I did not want them to kiss me, especially around non family members.
I love my children. We talk and walk, we cook together and laugh together. We hug and slug. But kissing is out of the question.
I am tight with my kids, but I’ve always felt there is a little bit of distance between us. I am not their favorite person every day. I avoid the basement when they have friends over mostly because their friends are the most important people at the moment. And I don’t want to have a dumb or uncool daddy moment in front of my kids that might be embarrassing.
The other day I saw a dad walk his daughter to school while holding her hand. But she began to recoil as they got closer to the school and friends could see her. She finally broke loose from the hand hold. There should be some distance between parents and kids. How much should be left up to the individuals.
Should a dad kiss his children? Probably. On the lips? I don’t know the answer to that.Find Terry Foster Podcast here: