Reflections on motherhood...


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The magic (and science) of kiss betters

I'd always secretly scorned parents who used the old "kiss it better?" with their screaming child.  And believe me, having worked in a children's store throughout my teenage years, I've seen my fair share of this parenting trick.

Recently, I've had outstanding success in deploying the "kiss-better" on Milkbaby.  Our conversations go something like this:

[bump, bang, stubbed toe/banged elbow/head etc]
[inconsolable screaming]
Me: "oh no, what's happened?"
Milkbaby: [more screaming]
Me: "Where does it hurt? Show me"
Milkbaby: [through vicious sobs] "on there" [pointing to hurt body part]
Me: "Want me to kiss it better?"
Milkbaby: [still sobbing] "yea"
Me: [administering a kiss] "there, all better"
Milkbaby: stops sobbing immediately, runs off to play.

It's incredible!  From screaming to silence in a 5 second interaction.

A kiss better also works better if administered
while wearing your best dress and high-heels -
though beware the surreptitious

Turns out there's actually some science behind it - it's the toddler version of the placebo effect.  One study even suggests that the placebo effect may be doubled in children.

However, like any parenting technique, google it and you'll find advice suggesting it's not such a good idea.  Apparently, one should not kiss better:

  • a snake bite
  • a jellyfish sting
  • an open wound.
You would think that in all of the cases above, you'd be better off administering first aid than a smacking great kiss.  Or even thinking about removing your child from the situation causing the jellyfish sting or the snake bite?

You may also want to refrain from administering a kiss better on a bitten tongue.
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