Kissing it to Make it Better – Why Does This Work?

Little brother kissing her scrape to make it better.
After a high-speed scooter-crash, her brother inspecting & kissing her boo-boo to make it better.


It’s a time-honored tradition.   Kid wipes out, falls down, or otherwise gets a scrape / bruise / etc.  Comes straight to mommy or daddy who then kisses it to “make it better”.   Whilst some of us may actually possess Magical Lips of Healing, any parent (magical or not) has seen the effects – the kid goes right back to playing, injury forgotten.   Why does this work?

Came across this excellent quote which may explain things:

“Well, now, actually, it’s not even funny, because a little child will bark his knuckles or stub his toe or something and it’s almost — you can almost see him plot the whole thing out. He barks his knuckles and, like a small rocket, heads immediately for Mom and says, ‘See?’

“And Mama says, ‘Oh, that’s nice. Mama will kiss it and make it well.’ And Mama does and that’s the end of that game.

“The funny part of it is, if he plays that game convincingly, if he’s convinced he is playing a game, that Mama will give him attention and that it is interesting and so forth, child will get over doing this. And actually the speed with which they heal up a bump or a bruise which is appropriately noted by both parents is quite remarkable, unless they are so short of games they keep it around to be noted tomorrow. But a child who is neglected is a child who will be hurt. And a child who is getting an adequate amount of attention doesn’t ever get hurt. Isn’t that odd?”  – L. Ron Hubbard (from lecture Chronic Somatics, 17 August 1956)

The way I usually see this play out with my kids is that they really want the injury acknowledged.  They want you to see it, to admire it, to check it out – and, more importantly – understand what they’ve been doing and the cool things that led up to the injury.

It’ll even happen between my daughter and my son – where my daughter will be trying to get his attention, and can only then get it if she ends up creating an injury.  In the case I happened to take a picture of above, she was trying to show him something that she was doing on the scooter, he wasn’t listening, and she then proceeded to crash in front of him.   And then she wanted him to come examine her scrapes and kiss her owie & make it better.

Which then, to me, just opens up again the subject of Communication in the family.  Kids do things all the time that they just want to have acknowledged.  Their communication their contribution in the family is in the amazing things they do & learn every day.  And the more you ignore them (or the more your kids go out of communication with one another) the more you’ll pull in these injuries and scrapes as a crutch to get some attention.

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