‘Not in front of the kids’
Public displays of affection can be embarrassing for children, but it’s good for them to know their parents love each other, says Masanda Peter.
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It is always heart-warming to see a mature couple acting lovingly towards each other. No kinky stuff, thanks, but just showing love to each other. I know of couples who use lovely pet names to call each other like Sweety, Baby, Lovey, Sthandwa or Liefie when referring to each other. I have also seen people who stop using such names when they start having children.

One mom suggested that her husband should stop calling her Baby because her son asked: ‘When is Baby coming back from work?’ This embarrassed the mother and she was concerned that the child was going to refer to her in that way even in public places like the church.

Of course the generations are different and some people are conservative.

To me, seeing your parents in love is the most loving thing a child can witness because they are most likely to apply this in their lives and generations to come. Most parents I know, especially the older generation refer to each other as ‘Mama ka Samila’ or ‘Tata ka Liyo’ – which means ‘Samila’s mother’ or ‘Liyo’s father.‘  In other cases they use names like MamCirha or MaLerato – opting to use the clan names instead.

An African Indigenous Religion Practitioner, Nokuzola, told me that being affectionate in the African culture is between two people. This is something you do when you are in your own space together. ‘Love is not a flag you wave,’ she says. The touchy-feely, kissing and holding hands is something for the bedroom.

In some households you’d often find two beds in one bedroom, one used by the grandmother and the other by the grandfather. I found that strange, but since Nokuzola explained, I now understand that this is an activity between two people.

Still, are they trying to fool us as their children into thinking that they are not getting down at night?

I have noticed that our generation is different and use affectionate names when communicating with each other. I hope our children can understand that there is nothing wrong (well, in my opinion) with being affectionate to each other. Hearing your parents say ‘I love you’ to each other is something I am sure they will appreciate. I am not talking the type of affection that makes you want to look away the one that will leave your children embarrassed. Rather just a show of affection that will leave them with a smile and a warm feeling.

How affectionate should parents be in front of their children?

Read more by Masanda Peter

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