A well know family therapist, Virginia Satir, goes as far as to say that, “Hugging is healthy. It helps the body’s immune system, keeps you healthier, cures depression, reduces stress, and induces sleep. It is invigorating and rejuvenating. Hugging significantly increases your body’s production of endorphins.”
She simplifies it in this way: We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
How does this apply to children? Most of us understand that it is essential for our children’s health and wellbeing that we show our love to our children daily by giving them lots of hugs and kisses. However, what some of us loving parents may not have realized is it is also important for us to show respect to them by asking them their permission to touch them in this way.
We can say “Honey, can I give you a hug?”, “Rangi can I give you a kiss, sweetheart?”, “Would you like a hug? Or “I’ve got a great big hug waiting just for you!”
Respect for our child also means that we need to be aware that our child may not always want to hug or kiss us or other adults, this includes relatives and grandparents, and at these times should not be forced to do so.