Have you read the viral op-ed arguing adults shouldn’t high-five children? It’s left many parents and child psychologist experts confused.
As a mom, I had to read what the hype was all about. John Rosemond, a “parenting” columnist for the Omaha World-Herald, argued that adults should refrain from high-fiving their children. He writes: “I will not slap the upraised palm of a person who is not my peer, and a peer is someone over age 21, emancipated, employed and paying their own way.” To him, there’s a legal age to high-five. Yep, you read that right.
Heartbreakingly, he doesn’t even high-five his own 15 year old grandson.
His stance is based on his opinion that refraining from high-fives helps set boundaries and is a show of respect between adults and children. He goes on to state, “Children should know their place. Adults should know their place. The more adults and children commingle as if they are equals, the more problematic become their relationships.”
It doesn’t end there. He even says that respecting adults is “important to a child’s character development,” and a high-five “is not compatible with respect.”
A MOTHER’S OPINION
Reading this opinion piece as a mother brings great sadness to my heart. His perspective of children using these jovial gestures do not align with the way we perceive them in our household.
I high-five my children. I see their sweet little eyes light up when they accomplish a task and we celebrate with a simple high-five. I observe the adults in their lives also celebrate their accomplishments in this manner with joy and words of encouragement.
There is something about a touch—it can validate a feeling you hope to convey to your child.
When a child seeks a connection with their parents or adults, please don’t deny them a gesture as simple as a high-five. One 2015 study by researchers at Notre Dame 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.”
Now, let’s raise a high-five to every child we see!