I read Millie's commentary on hugging and was going to put a comment in, but decided to write my own observations.
I grew up in a household where touch was verboten. I can count on one hand the amount of times I can recall being hugged, kissed, embraced or otherwise touched by a loving family member.
This isn't a rant, this is simply an honest accounting of childhood in the fifties. My parents did not make public displays of affection, not with the children, not within their own relationship.
The word "love" was seldom mentioned. We were raised to behave in a socially acceptable fashion - we were to be at all times respectful, presentable, attractive, etc. There was very little room for spontaneity. Those were the fifties and early sixties.
It comes as no surprise that the late sixties and beyond we became a generation of "luv." So many of us had craved affection for so long that when barriers were lowered they were actually blown to smithereens.
One of the first changes I made when we started our family was to breast-feed. My poor mother was shocked and appalled. She'd had six children and all were bottle fed. She thought women who nursed were cows (her words) and that a formula (made with of all things, cows' milk) was better for a baby. She was deep into science (or faux science) and felt that propping a bottle was sufficient stimulus for a baby.
I had to tolerate a lot of verbal abuse for this decision, but I felt that my kids would be better off receiving human mother's milk. This was especially beneficial for my oldest, a preemie. But all the promise of anti-bodies, touch and bonding went unnoticed.
I still think I could have been a more "affectionate" mother. There's nothing sweeter than a hug when a little person needs reassurance. You can tell a child that they are special, but a hug proves it. I sometimes make a mental list of things I could have done better as a parent, and affectionate touch is always at the top of my list.
It comes as no surprise that children who aren't cuddled have a more difficult time forming personal relationships and empathy as they grow up. So hug that child . . . right now!