Don't Force The Hug: Letting Kids Show Affection On Their Terms
Amanda had a doctor appointment, so she took her two kids, Lucas and Mia, over to her mom’s house to spend a few hours. When she picked them up, her kids were excited to tell her about all of the fun things they did. As they were saying goodbye, grandma said, “I love having you come over! Give me a hug before you go.” Lucas excitedly ran over to grandma and gave her a big hug. Mia hung back a little. Grandma said, “Come on, Mia. I don’t want to miss my hug.”
How should Amanda respond?
Questions to Consider
Spend some time thinking about how you would respond in this situation. Discuss your responses with a partner, co-parent, or trusted friend.
If you were Mia’s parent, what would you say to her? What would you say to grandma?
If you make Mia hug grandma, what might Mia learn from this situation?
If you don’t make Mia hug grandma, how could it impact the situation?
How can you empower Mia but still make grandma feel loved and appreciated?
Here Are Some Tips
suggest a high five or blowing kisses.
important your child feels comfortable expressing preferences.
express themselves respectfully.
Have a Conversation
Spend some time having a conversation with your child about how they prefer to show affection. Here are some questions you could ask.
How do you like to show people in our family that you love them?
Have you ever been uncomfortable interacting with our family and friends?
What can I do to make you feel safe and comfortable when we're around other people?
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