Did this title grab your attention? Great! Well now that I have your attention, allow me to explain why your children will benefit from your affection towards your spouse.
No – I am not implying that you need to sit your kids down and first explain the birds and bees. And then next confess that mommy is the bird in the story that gets stung by daddy bee. (Honestly, I just made that up. I don’t even know the story of the birds and the bees!) What I am trying to convey is that your children should see you and your spouse engaging in healthy and appropriate physical connections. The occasional PDA (public display of affection) is perfectly okay and very necessary for even the youngest of your children.
This topic was sparked by a conversation with my daughter just a few short weeks ago. We were driving through a shopping center parking lot when we saw a white couple standing near a car cuddled up and kissing. My daughter’s gaze was followed by “Awww, that is so beautiful.” I instantly retorted back. “Why is it ‘awww’ for them and a disgusting ‘ewww’ when you see your daddy and me doing the exact thing?” Of course, she cites the fact that it’s her parents it demands an ‘ewww.’ I wasn’t truly convinced by her answer so I had to respond again. “Well, I just want you to know that Black Love is beautiful too! One responsibility of your parents is to teach and reveal that to you.”
Here’s why it is so important for our children to witness us outwardly expressing loving behavior towards one another:
1) Because Black Love is beautiful and no one else is going to teach them that.
The only people who are responsible for steering the narrative on how wonderful it is when Black women and Black men get together is, well, Black men and women!
2) Because they need to have positive images to drown out the adverse chatter about Black Love they will encounter.
Unfortunately, our children are inundated with negative stereotypes about what the Black family is and isn’t. When our children don’t have any tangible examples to combat the negative agenda that society pushes, they are more likely to adopt what is being fed to them.
3) Because our children develop their own relationship patterns from the examples that we live in front of them.
“Do as I say and not as I do” is not effective parenting for this generation of children. They need words backed by actions! When our babies watch us grow in a happy and healthy relationship, they will be more eager to grow into the men and women who flourish in their relationships as well.
It is okay to have PDAs in front of your kids; just keep it PG rated. A warm embrace, holding hands while you walk, a peck on the lips or even that coveted forehead kiss that he sneaks in are just a few ways our children can witness our love in action. Seeing you flourish in your marriage will hopefully pique their hunger to replicate that same Black Love experience later in life. After all, in the words of my Soror Nikki Giovanni: