I baby sit a three year old regularly. When I leave he is asked to choose between a hug and kiss, a high five, or a fist bump as a way to see me off.

So, the other morning, when his Dad was leaving for work, the three year old told his Dad he needed to be as nice to me as to mommy and give me a hug and kiss so I didn't feel left out.

This is super cute and the three year old's intentions are loving. The Dad was a little freaked. While I didn't mind a hug, a kiss (even on the cheek) would have been over-the top in our culture.

What would you do?

  • 2
    Did the "dad" choose a kiss?;) Anyway, talk to him and make sure that in the future each time he is asked that, he chooses a fist bump or whatever you are comfortable with.
    – Dariusz
    Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 21:52

1 Answer 1


The boy is clearly trying to figure out adult relationships, and maybe even adult boy-girl relationships.

With the dad standing right there, I would smile at the boy and say, “That’s not something your dad and I feel comfortable doing.” If he asks why, or says, “But Daddy kisses Mommy" or "You kiss me,” I would explain that (in our culture) hugs and kisses are for really close friends or family, and then only if they like to do them – emphasizing the “only” since it is never too young to start letting him know that he has a right to say no to unwanted touching, and adding the “in our culture” part only if you think he’s ready for a discussion about how behavior differs in different cultures. (I think three was when I started explaining culture to my kid, but she’s always been socially gifted.)

I would see nothing wrong with letting him know that you and he are closer friends that you and his dad, in case that comes up, BTW.

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    This is almost exactly what I did. We did hug, and I explained later about the absence of the kiss. I also said, "do you know who I REALLY want the hugs from though?" and the boy said, "ME!!! - cuz I'm a special friend!" Commented Dec 15, 2013 at 13:19

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