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Help! My Toddler Won’t Hug Me!

Yeah, some kids are not natural huggers. Kids who are not natural huggers tend to freak some parents out(especially those who are naturally affectionate to others). Some parents wonder, “what is the deal)? Some wonder why their kid is so strong-willed.

The first thing you need to remember is not to force something on your kid. Some kids are not natural huggers(I am one of them). It is just not in me to be overly affectionate like the rest of my family. I have my way of showing affection. Your kid might be someone like me.

There is a solution, though. Here are five tips for parents who need help with their kids who are not natural huggers.

Body Language

The body language tells you everything you need to know. Some kids come into the world without wanting to be hugged. It is not as though they are starved for attention. Some non-huggers come from very loving homes. However, you might have a child kind of backs off when you lean in for the hug.

Remember, there is nothing wrong with them or you. You do need to watch body language, though. Non-huggers are going to stand straight. You might be leaning in for the hug, but your child is not. Be aware of that without criticizing them.

You can either wait for your child to hug you instead or you can hold out your hand. A lot of non-huggers in the family prefer extending a hand. The key to that is not to let your hand sit there for too long. Your child might start to get irritated if you do. Once more, it comes down to body language. Huggers should never force a hug on someone that does not want one. It does not matter how much you love your child.

Best Way To Hug

Every so often, your child might let you know that a hug is okay at the moment. Try to figure out the best way to go about hugging your child. That also means you are not going to be able to hug them the way you are used to.

Your child has given you a one-time pass for a small hug. Keep it short and simple. I know this bugs a lot of parents who are overly-affectionate. I have a sister who is the same way. She is very affectionate. She is very touchy-feely with others(though, sometimes it does depend on the situation).

You cannot assume that your kid is going to be the same way you are.

Judge the Situation

Some parents like to hug for no reason. It is normal for them. Your kid might not be the same way. You need to gauge the situation before approaching them(similar to what I said above).

Sometimes a special occasion like a wedding or graduation is okay, but that is only if they let you. Parents who are natural huggers and overly affections just assume that anytime is good for a hug. It is not, especially if you have a child who is a non-hugger.

Always ask your kid before you do it. I know that sounds crazy, but you do need to ask. The other thing is not to get upset if they tell you no. Some kids are going to say no. Please do not take it personally, and a lot of parents do.


Say, for example, you do get the green light from your child to hug. You need to stay committed to it. Hugs do not happen when you are ready to give one. You cannot pull away because it is not a good time for you. You cannot pull away because your child was not willing when you wanted one.

It does not work like that. Give them a hard and committed hug, but do not suffocate them in the process. Kids who are suffocated do not come back for another round any time soon.

Too Long

Holding a hug too long is another mistake parents make. They figure they need to take advantage while they have the chance.

“Oh, my kid finally hugged me! I cannot believe it. I am going to make it last for as long as I can!”

Yeah, you might want to hold off. As I said above, keep it simple and short. You cannot make a hug about you, which is what so many parents do.

Holding the hug too long might cause other issues between you and your child. You think they are strong-willed now. Holding a hug too long could make them even more strong-willed. The one-time pass they have you for the hug will soon be revoked.

Making It Awkward?

Always use both arms. Using one arm will make it very awkward, and your non-hugger is going to get a lot weirder around you.

Get rid of the bad thoughts. I know that sounds weird, but do not overthink it. Every so often, your non-hugging kid is going to throw you a bone(so to speak). Accept it. You are the one making everything awkward, not your toddler.

Add some compliments. But do not overdo it.

Sometimes your non-hugging child is going to want to hold on for a few extra moments. Once more, it comes down to body language and not overthinking it.

Hold on for a little while if you sense they want to as well. Back off once you sense your child is pulling away. Your child knows how long they want to be hugged for and when. Accept it.

Giving a hug to a non-hugging child should flow like water(very naturally). The second you make it choppy, the situation becomes something more than what it is.

1 thought on “Help! My Toddler Won’t Hug Me!”

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