Kissing for sensitive kids

Posted: 20 May, 2016

By: Annabella Sequeira

Section: Education, Parenting

Kissing

Being the parent of a sensory sensitive young son, has its own set of minor challenges, from cutting out labels from clothing, finding seamless socks or avoiding any yogurt or juice with ‘bits’ in them. These irritations are liveable though and is a much needed adjustment to make life easier for him and I. These lifestyle adjustments are mere irritations that after finding solutions, became merely part of our lives. As a parent, I am constantly having to advocate for my son or explain to people that he is not being difficult, rather respond what he perceives as an unpleasant sensory experience. Most importantly, it’s not his fault.

However, one of his reactions to sensory elements is the one that gets quite hurtful reactions from overly passionate aunts or loving grandparents. As soon as Malakai walks into the room, they need to give him a kiss, usually a ‘wet’ kiss, smack bang on his cheek. Needless to say, there is a look of horror on Malakai’s face with and instantaneous desperate ‘rubbing of his cheek ‘and I anticipate the equal look of dismay and hurt from those giving him a kiss, clearly interpreting it as a rejection. They clearly take offense. As his mother, I now need to go into damage control, desperately finding a way to explain to them that he doesn’t mean to hurt their feelings.

One evening though, after reading him a bedtime story and saying our prayers, I too lean over and plant a loving kiss on his cheek which Makai (as expected) responds by desperately rubbing it off. No matter how many times he has done this to me, as a mom, it is still quite hurtful. I then asked him, “Malakai, why do you rub mommy’s kiss off?”. He looked at me, thought for a while and said, “Mom……., I am not rubbing it off, I AM RUBBING IT IN”. As I giggled inside, desperate to “laugh out loud” I looked at him, and said, “Thank you”, that makes my heart so glad. You should tell everyone who kisses you on the cheek that you are rubbing it in and not rubbing it off”.