Parenting without Hugs

by MuminBusiness

What if you are not a touchy-feely parent? Is it wrong? Did you hate not being hugged by your parent?

What makes a parent stop hugging a child? Is it culture? It is pride? Is it a fear of abuse? Or is it just an over sight on how important it is to hug a small person?

What is a hug?

A hug is a sign of love, shown by two people or even a group of people. It is a form of touch to show how much you care for another. It is a way to comfort another. For a child, it is a way for them to feel acknowledged by their care-givers. It makes them feel connected. Hardly any child when very young will refuse a hug. They may squirm or wiggle but they will always return to touch their parent.

Unless they learn not to...

Hugging in different homes

Solomon had grown up in a fairly cold household.  He knew or at least he thought he knew he was loved.  It was not something he thought of.

Usually any touch he had received was as a form of punishment. His parents did not believe in ‘spoiling’ children so they kept him at arms’ length. He had always wanted to run into his mother’s arms when he was little but she never returned the hug and usually pushed him away. The only person who had touched him was an aunt; His mum's sister that was disapproved of for her flamboyant ways.  He quite liked his aunt growing up but did not see her as much as he would have liked.  

Now Solomon was a father and he was uncomfortable with touching his children. He saw them rush towards him whenever they felt fear or happiness and he always managed to sidestep their hugs. Even hugging his wife was not something he did as a matter of course.

As a result of his youth, he was unable to hug anyone without feeling slightly repulsed and very embarassed.

Sarah had been brought up by very touchy-feely parents and she, in turn, was easy with her hugs. At the first hint of sadness or joy, she took the opportunity to spread the love by hugging all around her. She was comfortable with herself and enjoyed having her children around her. She hugged them freely and they seemed to love to be around her.

Do you enjoy a good hug?

Carry Mammals

We need Hugs

Carry Mammals are animals like Kangaroos and apes.  Their offspring are born very immature and must stay close to the mother at all times.  The milk of the mother is low comparatively in fat and protein so their babies must be fed constantly to keep them alive.  These animals tend to carry their babies and allow free access to their teats so that feeding occurs frequently.  

We humans definitely fall into this category.  Babies,as we have learnt through decades of ever-changing theories on child rearing, do not thrive without the touch of their mothers, or at least some primary caregiver.  

They have spent around 9 months within our wombs receiving nourishment without ever having to wait for it and then they are thrust into the world in a flash and discover what it is to not be held.  Healthy babies tell you by crying, even when fed and clean, that they want to be close to you.

Mothers, sometimes choose to learn to switch off to this crying as they are told by others that the baby is manipulating you.  

How can a little baby manipulate?  All they know is that they need you.  Surely, your instincts tell you to hug your baby...

Great Books about Hugs

Daddy Hugs (Classic Board Book)
$7.5  $2.99
Mommy Hugs
$14.04  $1.21

The Toddler needs a hug

They become Toddlers and they run to you when they fall.  They run to you just to be reassured as they venture away from you.  They want to explore the world but they also want to know that you are near.

You sometimes wish they would leave you alone for a few minutes but they wander back just as you think you will have a rest. They feel completely at peace when in your arms.  They know instinctively it is the safest place to be.

Again, sometimes we try to push our little ones to independence because we need to do things, be somewhere, clean the house etc.  

Surely, your instincts tell us to hug the child and slow down...

Even School aged Children need a hug

Its time to go to school.

We leave them at the school gates to make it in a world full of other children.  It can be a lonely place, even though they are in a crowd.  It must be a bit of a shock to the system.  Some children cry for their parents, some take it in their stride.  

Both sets need a hug at the end of the school day.  A time to sit with Mom or Dad and reconnect with a place of safety where they know they are loved.  They are not subject to the whims of their 'friends' when wrapped up in a parent's arms.

Even as they grow older and older and seem more and more capable of looking after themselves, children always need the connection with parents who love them unconditionally and are not too reticient to tell them.

Follow your instincts and give them a hug...

Love Languages of Children

The 5 Love Languages of Children
$3.04  $9.4

Teenagers need Hugs

This can be a prickly stage if you have not spent time getting to know their hearts (and sometimes, even if you have).  They might bite your head off if you try to come too close and yet even these great big kids need to know that someone cares.

Touch is such a universal way to show love and appreciation.  Why would you withhold your affection?  It is only a matter of time now before they leave home, go off to college, truly start to experience the world without you.  The one thing they will always know is whatever the world throws at them, they can always run to you for love, acceptance, affirmation and a great big hug.

Why would you even consider parenting without hugs?  Your instincts tell you it won't work...

Updated: 03/18/2012, MuminBusiness
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jan111 on 04/26/2013

I hug my children (twin boys aged 7) lots of times each and every day - I also tell them how much I love them and how much Daddy loves them each and every day. To me, that provides them with an early sense of security and self-esteem.

MuminBusiness on 03/23/2012

Surely Grandchilden are just the best. You must feel a lot more certain about what to do and not to do... It sounds like you have a whole lot of hugging to do.

Thanks for reading!

BrendaReeves on 03/23/2012

You are so right. I just loved hugging and kissing my children as they were growing up. I miss it a lot, but I have grandchildren to hug and two dogs and two cats also.

MuminBusiness on 03/23/2012

I agree! Touch is sooooo important to a child. I don't believe we can spoil a child by hugging either but it does not always come easy to some, especially if they were not touched in their youth. It is not always natural to me but I am determined so I make a point of hugging my little ones regularly even as they get older. It is easy when they are young but as they get older, I am choosing to always remember to hug them regularly.

Thanks Sheilamarie

sheilamarie on 03/23/2012

You're right, Muminbusiness, touch is one of our basic human needs. You cannot spoil a child during the first year, and certainly hugging is not how we spoil them as they grow anyway. I think that because of all the abuse cases in the news, people have become fearful of too much touch, but healthy, affectionate touch is not the same thing as unhealthy, predatory touch. We have to realign our perspective on these things. We can do much damage to a child by refusing their hugs and by withholding our own signs of affection.

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