Gulf Coast Mom Opinion: A “parenting” columnist believes adults should not high five children and we have to say something!


A “parenting” columnist believes adults should not high five children and we have to say something Gulf Coast Mom

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.”


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! 

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Christy is Co-Founder and Owner of Gulf Coast Moms Blog. She was born in Costa Rica and moved to the United States when she was 6 years old. She vividly remembers flying into New Orleans and knew, in the moments to come, her life would change forever. She grew up in Moss Point and moved to Hattiesburg to attend college at Southern Miss, where she received her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She met her love, Matthew, and they have enjoyed married life for 13 years. They live in Long Beach with their precious children, John Salem and Ann-Michael. Prior to co-founding Gulf Coast Moms Blog, she had a successful 10+ year career in higher education administration, where she developed and spear-headed campus-wide student initiatives and events. Christy is now spending her days as a stay-at-home mom and serves her community through several non-profit organizations. She enjoys making Costa Rican tamales, a fresh margarita from El Aguila, annual sister spa day, collecting random owl things (Hootie Hoo to my Chi Omega sisters), words of wisdom from Irish priests and pool days. She is passionate about connecting women and creating a supportive, nurturing community to empower moms.