Are you a cold parent?
Just because you don't dish out hugs and kisses doesn't make you a bad parent.

The other day a friend commented that I am a rather cold mother. At first I thought this very funny. I love my children to bits. But it did make me pause and wonder…

We are not a hugging, kissing family. We do not gush over each other but I am pretty sure that if one of my children needed a kidney I would happily donate one of mine.

I have heard some of my friends speak to their grown-up children on the phone and they sound like Hyacinth Bucket talking to Sheridan in “Keeping Up Appearances”. I smirk when I hear them saying, “Okay, my sweetheart, take care now. I love you so much and I miss you terribly. Mommy thinks of you all the time, my darling.” If I spoke to my children like that they would probably start thinking about having me committed.

I remember in my own childhood kissing both my parents goodnight before going to bed, before going to school, on arriving home from school and quite a few other times during the course of the day. I am not sure why I have never done that sort of thing with my own children. It was never a definite decision to not include hugs and kisses in our relationships. I must have hugged them when they were toddlers and I do remember a night-time ritual where they would call, “Ma, come and kiss us goodnight.” But we moved on past that stage.

My father was what is known as “a dour Scot” and an accountant to boot. I don’t remember ever climbing on his lap for kisses and cuddles but I never doubted that he loved me. I suppose some could have called him a cold parent but to my mind he never was. He was just my dad who behaved in a certain way. It was all that I knew.

I will admit that I was perhaps too casual a parent. I remember sending my ten-year-old son off to the dentist by himself. A more caring mother may have accompanied him to hold his hand in the dentist’s chair. I remember that incident because my son had not been gone long when I received a phone call from the dentist. He had given my son an injection and told him to wait in the waiting room for it to take effect. But the child had thought that was all there was to it and came tootling home. When he arrived home I simply sent him back again and the filling was done. A cold parent? I wonder.

I certainly didn’t mollycoddle them. If they woke with a headache they still had to go to school. I worked on the theory that if they were really ill I would be phoned to come and fetch them. I don’t remember that ever happening.

They also had to do chores around the house. We had a roster with their duties for the week and that was adhered to. We also did fun things as a family – going to the beach, fishing, playing cards round the kitchen table, playing table tennis. I hope they have good memories from their childhood. I certainly do. I loved the school holidays where they did tie-and-dye, or made uncooked biscuits, or started hobbies that were probably abandoned when they went back to school. The memories are very warm.

Sometimes I don’t hear from my grown-up children for a few months. It doesn’t bother me. They must live their lives. I stay quiet because I know that one day the phone will ring and they will want to tell me something or ask me something. It doesn’t mean that I am cold. My heart sings to hear the voice.

No, I am not a cold mother. If I seem that way to others, they are judging me by their yardstick of sentimentality.

Are you a parent that doesn't indulge in PDA? Or were your parents like this? Send us your comment to

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