Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

October 6, 2022

Why you should High-Five your child often and frequently tell them that you love them

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 1:46 AM

Saw this on Twitter earlier this week and I was flabbergasted to know that people have such high/strong opinions about high-fiving. This person is a strong believer in the fiction that children should be seen and not heard. Some of what he says I do agree with, such as “Children should not call parents by their first names” and “Should not be allowed to watch certain movies that their parents watch”, but the rest of it is nonsense. Before we start with the critique, you should first read the op-ed in question and then we can proceed.

The whole article is a mess but I especially love the way he explains his objections to his son when their grandkid (5 years old at the time) didn’t understand why they wouldn’t high-five them. The answer given was “I don’t expect him to understand and I am not going to explain it to him”. When the son responded saying that they don’t understand either, instead of explaining the logic the response given was “I am not going to explain myself to you either”. This is not the response you expect from someone who is sure of why they are doing something, this is the answer you get from someone who thinks they are always right and anyone not agreeing with them is wrong. Basically the typical strong/alpha man response where any sign of affection or love was a sign of weakness. The best way to get someone to understand why you are doing something is to explain it to them, decree’s like this are not the way and sure as hell don’t make you loved or liked.

Lets step back a bit to look at the meaning of High Five, according to Cambridge Dictionary it is a “greeting or an expression of admiration in which two people each raise a hand above their shoulder and bring the fronts of their hands together with force”. Every other definition that I have been able to find is similar and no where does it say that the people have to be at the same age, equality, gender, economical status. Of course practically speaking, I am not going to go high five a random grandmother or someone walking on the road. But there have been instances where this has happened and is appropriate. For example, if a big win happens or something worth celebrating (such as a rocket launch, or a sports win, or massive sales) everyone will be celebrating it and you will have random people high fiving and giving hugs to celebrate. It is normal behavior.

Another reason to high five someone is to encourage them and acknowledge their work, especially a kid. It is a way to make them know that people around them are proud of them and this doesn’t have to be for major tasks. Sometimes it is the acknowledgement from small achievements that stays with you the longest. If a five year old is taught to set the table for visitors and they do it well, a simple high five will let them know that their work was appreciated or if they managed to recite their alphabets correctly for the first time they need to be supported, celebrated and encouraged. A high five is a simple easy way of doing that…

Your relationship with your kid is not the same as the one you have with your boss. Treating both the same way is a recipe for disaster. You can celebrate the small wins , be approachable but still maintain discipline. I know I don’t have kids so there is a limit to how much I know about raising kids. However, I am the self appointed cool mama who gets to teach the kids about cool stuff I find and while the kids will come to me with any questions they have no disrespect is tolerated.

Interestingly, this view is a minority view and folks across the internet are speaking up against this. As per a 2015 study by researchers at Notre Dame, it was found that “parental soothing, constant physical presence with plenty of affectionate touch and playful interactions with caregivers are vital to a child’s wellbeing as an adult. Without parent touch, play and support, the research says children have “poorer mental health, more distress in social situations and are less able to take another’s point of view.”. Giving a high-five is a simple tactile way of showing the approval and love.

When questioned about the negative response to his op-ed, John’s response was blunt, condescending and dismissive stating:

“The reaction was also HUGELY negative, and I still stand my anti-high-five position. ”

“The majority of respondents failed miserably at countering my opinion with intelligent opinion of their own; rather, they engaged in ad hominem, which is the refuge of the inarticulate. I’m perfectly willing to engage in intelligent discourse on the subject. Unfortunately, I have yet to find any,”

The way John wants to raise their kids and grandkids is how the old British folks used to do, where any love or affection shown was a sign of weakness. Personally I think that is a miserable way to live. I much rather have folks show their love and regard honestly. I still give my parents, relatives a hug when I meet them. For some I touch their feet, for others I try to lift them up (or now more frequently they try to lift me). We all know our place and the relations are bound with love and mutual respect rather than obligation.

Well this is all for now. Will post more later.

– Suramya

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress