Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

Fathers kissing and hugging their sons

One thing that caught my attention in my last trip to Brazil, and that I had somehow forgotten, has to do with fathers showing their sons,(manyTEENAGERS) physical affection in public . I am not talking about baby boys, but boys over the age of 7.

You see it a lot. In Brazil, parents usually are very affectionate with their kids, of both genders. That comes naturally, as Brazilians are usually affectionate people.  White America, more especifically amongst those of anglo-saxon and teutonic heritage, is not very confortable with touch, especially in public.

However, I started observing fathers and sons in particular and I noticed that in America, you do not see a lot of physical affection (hugs, kisses) between fathers and sons in any racial group. It seems that it is now ingrained in the American culture and I suspect it has to do with the intense homophobia in this country. I find it beautiful when I see a Mom or Dad hugging their kids.

I have already written in this blog that I can foretell which couples are happy and which are not by their body language and the amount of touch between them. Some do it, some don’t. What I don’t see however are many fathers hugging or kissing their sons, and I think this is a grave mistake. I also suspect this can cause the mysoginism and anger I see in some young Americans lads, and maybe even cause some coldness towards people and also women (just like  child abuse can lead to name calling, wife beating, marriage avoidance and the need for sex as escapism). I am not a psychologist, but the lack of affection may well have some influence in a young man’s future behavior.

If these boys do not have enough coddling, enough touch and enough demonstration of affection, can they develop a hard crust to cover up the sadness?

Any readers who kiss and hug their sons? Please prove me wrong! (I have received some emails from fathers who do hug and kiss their almost grown up sons…thank Zeus)


February 9, 2009 - Posted by | Being a mother, Difference between cultures


  1. Hello I am 14 and me and my dad use to hug and kiss but I never saw any of my other guy friends doing that with there fathers so I decided to stop. Since then me and my dad have had a wall between each other and I hardly say 20 sentences to him directly. I want to be close but when we get close he imbarrasses me in some way. Is this a phase I am going through? What do you think that I need to do? Please help me!!!

    Comment by Price | May 21, 2009 | Reply

  2. i agree with you. dads need to hug AND kiss their sons. there’s nothing wrong with it and anyone who thinks it’s “gay” or something is just stupid. i’m not a dad yet but if i have sons i will hug and kiss them until they go to college…

    Comment by robert | November 30, 2009 | Reply

  3. i am a 17 year old guy and i do not kiss my dad on the lips but i dont think there is anything wrong abou it. if a father and son are very close then they should do it as long as they want it does not matter what people think

    Comment by dutch | February 9, 2010 | Reply

  4. While their are many third world countries with harsh homophobia (you get hanged in Iran for public same sex affection) I find it ridiculous that the United States still continue to uphold intense homophobia. As diverse and intelligent as our country is it is utterly ridiculous.

    If my father didn’t bum out of my life and we were close I would have no problem giving him a hug.

    Dear United States of America, it’s time for a change. Our old tactics are no longer working.

    Comment by Christian | March 7, 2010 | Reply

  5. First I would like to congratulate those fathers and sons that have that kind of relationship.My son is 14 years old now and I regret not having a closer relationship with him.Some reasons why I believe that it is that way.In my childhood years it was not a part of my life,I’m a minister of the gospel and I didn’t balance out my church life with family time outside the church,I did’nt know that we had grew so far apart,my son interest most of the time was things that I did not like to do so I let other took my place .If I could turn back the hand of time with the knowledge that I have now, I would not let a day go by without showing him my love.

    Comment by Patrick Boykin | April 1, 2011 | Reply

    • why don’t you tell him the same thing you wrote, in words you’re comfortable saying, and I believe your situation will turn around overnight. Your courage can have big rewards.

      Comment by Tim | December 4, 2012 | Reply

  6. Olá,
    Sou brasileira (Estado do Ceará)e confesso que acho estranho pais não serem afetuosos com seus filhos. No Brasil beijar e abraçar os filhos é regra normal. O carinho ajuda a manter laços de afeto entre pais e filhos.

    Comment by Jucileide Alcantara Cavalcante | July 17, 2011 | Reply

  7. I normally kiss my two boys in the lips, once I asked them if they had any trouble with it, Their answer was…”We kiss you in the lips because we love you a lot, You have been our mom and dad at the same time and nobody in the school, church or soccer team has the bond with their parents as the way We have it with you.”

    Comment by Juan | November 22, 2011 | Reply

    • That’s very cute. I love that

      Comment by Dave | July 2, 2012 | Reply

  8. I just saw a photo on a Latino website of David Beckham apparently kissing his son — who looks like he can be 6-7 years old — on the lips during a Lakers game. There were no aspersions or askance comments given. It still gets my attention when fathers show affection to their sons. How things have changed.
    To give you my back story, I’m a 50 year old gay American man of Afro-Caribbean descent who was born in NYC. My parents were separated when I was very young. MY mother, older brother and sister and I lived in New Jersey and my father moved back to NYC. One day my mother piped up “Why don’t you spend the summer with your father?” I remember feeling puzzled and thinking “Why would I want to do that?” Fortunately, my mother’s suggestion won out and I grew to really liking spending summers with my father. Unfortunately, I lost my father when I was 12. I look back on it now and I realize it’s fortunate I did not miss that window to get to know my father when my mother suggested it. I realize now that before those summers I hadn’t bonded with my father. At the end of one summer, my mother suggested I kiss my father goodbye. My father did allow me to kiss him — on the cheek — but not without his saying something like “He should kiss girls”. At 14, I figured out I was gay and felt abysmally depressed and very alone from that point all the way through college. People concluded I was unenthusiastic or negative and would often tell me to smile. No one apparently thought I could have been depressed, I suppose, because my grades and school records got me into an Ivy League college. Regarding my coming out process, I came to think I was very backward, delayed compared to my peers. It took me a while to realize that much of my internal angst could stem from Caribbean heritage. I often wonder what my relationship with my father would have have been like had he lived.
    The concept of what it means to be a man evolves with the culture. There’s a lessening but still strong current of homophobia in American culture but it’s even worse in many Caribbean cultures. I often tell my mother that the mores of the Caribbean seem to be from the 50s. I think the decline of really virulent homophobia has made American culture somewhat more comfortable with the concept of affection between men – family or not. Fifty years ago, I don’t think we could even discuss something like gay marriage A father’s hugging his son would not surprise me so much. Considering my experience giving my father a kiss on the cheek when I was a child, the sight of a father kissing his son on the lips does have me doing a double take. I’m not endorsing or affirming this display of affection either way — just remarking how things have changed.

    Comment by Kasnar | March 30, 2012 | Reply

  9. Here in Brazil its very common to see fathers hugging and kissing their sons. It would sound very disrespectful having wrong ideas about it. Actually its very creepy to think that hugging your son/dad in public could mean something bad.

    Comment by Joao | June 3, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks for the response. I appreciate it. I didn’t mention before that I had visited Rio years ago at the invitation of a Brazilian friend during a Christmas vacation. It’s always interesting to see how people interact in different cultures and I noticed many differences. It was a wonderful experience and unfortunately, I’ve yet to make it back.
      At one time in the USA, if you still lived at home with your parents after age 18, people used to ask why you were still at home and called you a Mama’s boy. Ironically, on American TV shows like Dallas, grown men stayed at home even when they got married. Apparently, it was not acceptable to stay at home after age 18 — unless you were considered rich. I sometimes wonder if the Mama’s boy syndrome was created by landlords who needed tenants….LOL.

      Comment by Kasnar | June 4, 2013 | Reply

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