In my life there was a major lack of physical touch and affection. My father passed away when I was 6 and since that point my mother didn't know how to show us her love. She would buy my sister and me jewelry to show her affection. I always needed physical touch and affection but when I reached out for it, I was always asked what I wanted. What I really wanted was to be held. I grew up with a big vacuum left in my life. I personally knew that if my father was alive I would have received the kind of comfort, love, affection and peace of mind that I had ever yarned for.
Throughout my school life especially in high school, fellow classmates use to avoid me. It was hard to make friends in the class since they saw me as violent, aggressive and unfriendly. They dreaded my character since it seemed fierce to them. At some point, they even secretly nicknamed me “The fierce ogre.” Whenever I met or parted with a fellow classmate I was torn among different actions I should use as a good bye: a hug, handshake, pat on the back or simply say bye by word of mouth. In most cases, I find myself opting for the latter.
Touch is very essential in any communication. Its effects have no exact age bounds as it manifests itself among: elders, seniors, children, infants and even teenagers. Among this entire list, children, especially infants are the ones mostly affected. The way a child is treated in his early childhood has an adverse effect on the character, mental ability and physical growth in the years after. An infant cannot be able to effectively communicate by word of mouth. In case of any discomfort, the infant will cry to create an attention for touch. The moment they are touched, they feel contented and decide to stay mum. Their skin has a fast response to touch. We can therefore say that an infant can communicate to the other people through touch.
Studies have proven that newborns that are touched gain weight faster and have superior mental and motor skill development. They retain this for months. Touch on the back and legs soothes the baby while touch on the face, belly and feet tends to excite them. (http://www.livestrong.com/article/186495-importance-of-human-touch/)
In The New York Times an issue dated February 2, 1988, Dr. Kathryn Bernard, professor of nursing at the University of Washington states, “80 percent of a baby’s communication is through its body movement and it is easier to read a baby’s communication with skin-to-skin contact.” (http://www.ehow.com/about_6586973_importance-human-touch-communication.html) Touch is therefore an essential means of communication.
Everyone requires someone who can show the care, love and affection. This makes the person feel acceptable, important and worthy to be with. He or she gains the feeling of appreciation from friends and relatives. While communicating to someone, holding the persons hands, looking straight into their eyes and sometimes pressing their palm gently adds weight to point being communicated. The receiver is able to understand you better and keep a good memory of the situation. Increased levels of technology where people chat through texts has hampered the essence of touch in a communication. Lack of touch in communication has made many people end up touching themselves; playing with their hair or hitting their head when meaning of the communication is not understandable.
I conclusion, I can say I have learnt that the impact of touch to general human behavior is far beyond exhaustion. What I went through in my life is a lesson I learnt and not like my children to go through the same. I will take good care of their emotions through touch and nurturing good parent-child relationship.