Happy Holidays! No Hugs Just Yet

It’s the sweetest thing in the world when your little one embraces your favorite, old relative and spends the evening cuddling or happily chatting away with them. However, as family excitedly coo their holiday welcomes, you may quickly find your child cowering behind your legs, unwilling to make eye contact, and let alone give a heartfelt embrace. This newsletter is focused on recognizing your child’s physical boundaries as your family attends all the upcoming holiday parties.

Affection not Welcomed

Believe it or not, wariness of new people, even if it’s towards a relative, show signs of healthy, good behavior. It means your child is taking an active role in protecting themselves. Even if it seems unwarranted at a safe office party or family gathering, your child needs to take the time to assess the situation and determine how they want to be involved. You may try to ease their fears, but insisting that they hug or kiss anyone, even sweet grandma, could be problematic.

Trust your Child’s Instincts

If your little one doesn’t want to be affectionate or spend time with a specific person, they probably have their own reasons, even if it seems silly or harmless to us. Maybe they remember being hugged and tickled a little too hard. Listening to your child and respecting their intuition will go a long way towards building their confidence, sense of self preservation and can strengthen communication between the two of you.

Handling Hurt Feelings

Of course, you may run the risk of hurting some feelings this holiday season. One thing you can do is to offer your child the option of a high-five or handshakes. It may not be the joyful, heartwarming scene you imagined, but your family, friends or coworkers should understand.