“If you shy away from showing affection to your spouse when your kids are around, you might be doing them a disservice,” says Margaret Heldring, president of the Society for Family Psychology. An affectionate parental relationship teaches children what to look for in their own adult romantic partnerships. If you want your children to grow up and have happy, healthy marriages, then be sure to show them what that looks like. If you want your children to scream at their future spouses and walk out the door announcing to the family that they can’t ‘handle’ the stress, then show them that!”
It’s our job as parents be role models and set good examples of a healthy, loving relationship for our children, and kissing in front of your kids is part of that love. “I think it is very important for parents to show affection to each other ,” advises licensed clinical social worker and outpatient therapist Amy Morin, LCSW. “Despite kids’ protests that it’s gross, witnessing physical affection between their parents reassures them that their parents love one another. It also helps teach kids about love, marriage and affection which can prepare them for their future relationships.”
Hugs and kisses are nice, but don’t be restricted to just that. Show affection in other ways: Leave each other appropriate love notes, make each other a fancy meal, schedule regular date nights, compliment your spouse in front of your children, and say nice things to each other as much as you can. All of these little acts of affection are appropriate in front of your kids because deep inside they are feeling confident that Mom and Dad hold the framework of their world solid.
The more your children see the love between you and your partner, the better equipped they will be to find a healthy and happy partnership when they get older. And if we all want to give our children the best tools and opportunity to have the best life possible, why wouldn’t we work a little harder to keep love alive in marriage. After all…doesn’t it make our lives better too?