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by Abigail Van Buren

Dad Misses Kisses He Once Shared With His Young Sons

DEAR ABBY: When my three sons were small, I used to kiss them on the lips as a sign of affection. Now they are 13, 11 and 8, and it has been several years since I have done it. With the youngest, I can still get away with an occasional peck on the cheek -- but not my older boys.

My family roots are Scandinavian. Growing up, I used to hate that we rarely showed our emotions. I vowed to be different, but now I'm afraid I have fallen into the same nondemonstrative pattern.

As a single dad who tries hard to lead by example, how do I reintroduce this healthy demonstration of love? -- DEMONSTRATIVE DAD, LAGUNA, CALIF.

DEAR DAD: Your older boys may be less affectionate because they're a teenager and a pre-teen and concerned that kissing you would appear unmasculine or childish. It's possible that when they're older they will realize the importance of expressing warm emotions as you did.

Talk to your sons. Tell them you miss the demonstrations of affection and that while growing up you felt your family had missed out on something important. Many families are extremely affectionate, and in many cultures demonstrations of affection between males is the norm.