Growing up in Indonesia, I don’t really remember hugs, cuddles and the like. Yes, of course, there was the dutiful kiss on the cheek once in a while that felt more like a custom. It is not in our culture to say “I love you.

In their own way, I know my parents love me and my brothers. We, the children, tended to show our love with actions, such as paying respect to our parents, never arguing or talking back and being, pretty much, good kids.

Our upbringing was laden with disciplines ala Dutch style. My parents were stern and

simply not the type that vocally said how much they loved their children, yet we knew that they did. My family has been very close to one another, there’s no doubt about it, but we just don’t say our feelings out loud.

Our “actions” of love are more often shown through the acts of our teasing.

My family is big in this department. I think it runs in our DNA…my boy surely inherited these traits. My father and my brothers can tease the heck out of me. Just plain being silly and funny, all in good sport. It is our inside joke that if you can’t take it, then you won’t survive as a member of our family.

Growing up, I don’t remember my mother putting me to bed and reading to us. I do, however, remember my aunts telling us stories from the bible.

Being a mother for almost 5 years now, I have come to see how things have changed from my own childhood.

Hugs and kisses and also whispers of “I love you” are plenty and abound. It just feels so natural to tell my son that I love him.

My son loves it when I read to him. The cuddles, oh how I love them! I lie down and rub my son’s back at night. He gives me what I call the world’s best hugs – to which he says, “No, they’re not, Mommy…” and I convince him daily that he does gives me the best big bear hugs.

We profess our love to one another by saying “I love you…” He has ‘infected’ my family with these hugs and kisses as well. My family, who were not used to the whole hugs and kisses and “I love yous”, have changed.

It warms my heart to see my big, macho, tattooed brothers get all mushy when they hug and ask for kisses from my son. And then I hear them saying “I love you…

My relationship with my son and his affection have been a really sweet and wonderful change in my family’s dynamic, and I love every second of it.

Is your parenting style different compared to the style your own parents used? 

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Maureen of Indonesia  from Tatter Scoops.

Photo credit to William Mahnken. This photo is available for use according to the terms of 


Founder of Single Moms Indonesia, community leader and builder. Deeply passionate about women empowerment.

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