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Too Close for Comfort

Benjamin often kisses Jhoanna flush on the lips. "I want to marry you," he tells her, looking deep into her eyes.

Benjamin, of New York City, is 3; Jhoanna is his mom.

Preschoolers often obsess over a parent, particularly the one of the opposite sex. While that's normal, the caresses that accompany their adoration  -- patting your behind, nuzzling against your chest  -- can be inappropriate, since kids this age don't know the line between sweet and sexual. To set them straight:

Don't overreact. If you get angry, your child will feel confused  -- he's only trying to show he cares. And if you laugh, even in embarrassment, you'll just encourage him.

Redirect him. Gently move his roving hands to a more appropriate place, like your cheek. He'll learn that some forms of affection are better than others.

Teach him to respect privacy. This is a good time to explain that certain parts of our bodies shouldn't be touched without permission.

Meanwhile, try to understand where he's coming from. You are pretty darn irresistible.

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