Angels come in many forms. One flew into my life recently when I admitted that I’m a willing participant when my teens request backrubs and foot massages. Do you know what my angel told me?
My angel pointed out that teens are more likely to turn to each other for intimate physical attention if they aren’t getting enough physical stimulation in safe, loving environments! She strongly advocated appropriate touching within the family unit – ultimately as a way to delay teenage intimacy and all the myriad of consequences it can lead to.
Her point was that as children grow up and hit puberty, many of them go from getting loads of physical attention in hugs, kisses, pats on the head, back, and bottom, holding hands with adults and each other, taking naps with mom or dad, falling asleep on laps, getting spun in circles, riding on shoulders, to nothing! Our Victorian culture insists that we keep our hands to ourselves and the only appropriate contact is between couples. Starved of attention, teens gravitate toward each other for couple-style activities even though what they crave is just some simple physical sensory input that justifies they are “OK”.
I don’t get to hug and cuddle and smother my man-children with kisses anymore, but I’m quite willing to settle for the back scratches and foot massages they seek – and now I don’t feel guilty about it at all!