The Benefits Of Hugging Your Children
There is a lot of research that suggests benefits for children from hugging.
In this article, we'll explore the benefits of hugging and how it can improve your child's mental health. We will also offer some tips to make sure you hug your kids enough!
A hug has the ability to soothe and is an excellent method of showing love and affection to the people we love.
Several studies have shown that children who are showered with loving, non-painful forms of affection, such as a hug, tend to have high emotional intelligence and an optimistic viewpoint towards life - in other words, hugs are essential for kids.
If you want to set your child up for life, hug them when they need it - it may sound a little simplistic, however, such an act of affection has much farther-reaching effects on how your child grows into adulthood...
Improves the parent-child bond
A hug from a loved one boosts all the "feel-good" hormones Dopamine, Serotonin, and Oxytocin. As these neurotransmitters are released, we become happier and calmer as a result.
By regularly hugging your child, not only does it increase that feeling of "happy" for both you and your child - it strengthens your bond and encourages your child to feel safe and loved.
Increases the levels of oxytocin
During hugging, oxytocin levels (otherwise known as the "cuddle hormone") rise - this chemical is essential in a mother/child bonding - it has even been proven to help with inflammation reduction, wound healing, and food cravings.
The next time your child takes a spill and scrapes their knee, try giving them a tight hug; it really will make everything better.
Acts a heart-saver
Oxytocin has a relaxing effect on the body, bringing down the heart rate and blood pressure to a healthy level.
This would indicate that providing your child with a warm hug is an excellent method to soothe and calm them when they're upset, meaning it could be a way to keep both of your hearts healthier..!
Makes you smarter
Sensory contact from birth aids in stronger brain development in young children.
Touch is the initial sensory stimulation that infants experience, therefore it supports healthy brain growth - the skin-to-skin touch when hugging your kid stimulates their brain and encourages them to feel things around them.
According to studies, children who were well-nurtured by their parents have a larger hippocampus than those who were not (the hippocampus is a brain structure that aids learning and memory).
With childhood being the age of rapid brain growth and development, this is also a time when affection (hugging) would have the largest impact on your child and therefore would be beneficial for your child's further development and progress.
The safety and welfare of your child is paramount and hugging communicates to them that they are loved and cared for. This, in turn, helps them to develop a more positive attitude to life and boosts their self-esteem.
Acts as a great stress buster
Higher levels of Cortisol (known as the stress hormone), has been linked to anxiety and depression where Oxytocin acts as a leveller by producing a calming effect upon release, thereby reducing the symptoms of stress and anxiety. This makes offering a hug to your child obvious when trying to take the stink out of an uncomfortable situation.
Helps reduce tantrums
We have all been there at points in our child's life where we know they are about to pitch a fit and we wish there was some way of quickly and easily diffusing the situation, especially when we are not entirely sure what prompted said fit in the first place.
Chances are these temper tantrums are motivated by the inability to express internal emotions which is why hugging is a great way to calm the child down and to let them know that whatever it is, they are heard (if not necessarily immediately understood) and that together you will figure it out.
Life isn't always easy, and even adults occasionally lose control of their feelings in chaotic circumstances.
It's especially tough for youngsters to reign in their emotions. When you hug them during a difficult time, it will assist them calm down and regain better emotional control.
When one is under a lot of stress, large amounts of adrenaline and cortisol are released into the circulation.
Stress in children is inexperienced, which just allows tension to build up.
This might result in anxiety or depression. Hugging, on the other hand, releases oxytocin, which lowers cortisol levels and increases resilience in youngsters.
When you and your child hug, you establish an emotional link between the two of you. By hugging your child, you are teaching them to recognise the feelings and emotions of others.
A hug helps them to emotionally connect with you, which is the basis for empathy and love.
Is good for your health
A hug is beneficial to both our bodies and minds - hugging is an immune-system stimulant and with just enough pressure on the chest will be assisting the thymus gland's activity.
This gland controls white blood cell production, keeping germs at bay to help keep you and your child healthy.
Aids physical growth
Hugging your child is beneficial and essential for their physical growth and development. Hugs improve the five senses, which helps to promote healthy bodily development.
Kangaroo care, according to scientific research, helps increase growth in newborns who have been incubated and have low birth weights as well as those who have been deprived of this physical touch.
Hugging cheers both participants up because it releases all of the hormones that occur when we hug.
A hug from a loved one is as relaxing as any meditation technique; it's warm, comforting, and safe. It provides you with a sense of trust to cuddle your kid. This simple act will make you believe that everything is right in the world, and will help you to relax.
Wait... so what would happen if you weren't hugged as a child?
In most societies, hugs stand for love and care. If you live in a culture where hugging is common practice but your child isn't often hugged, this can be confusing and uncomfortable for them.
Below are a few things to consider:
They may have a hard time recognizing emotions - according to research, children reared in a hug-free house might have trouble identifying their own feelings and those of others.
They may experience issues both forming and maintaining relationships; both in friendships and romantic relationships.
They may suffer from a lack of confidence and/or self-esteem.
They may experience trust issues - again, this can relate back to relationship/friendship maintenance but can also affect working relationships.
Why your child should not be forced to give nor accept hugs
Pushing your child into giving/accepting a hug from another person (other family, friends, acquaintances, even YOU), when they are very clearly uncomfortable with this, sends a message that their own opinions or feelings are seen as less relevant and carries less weight than those of others.
Tell them that hugging isn't required at any family gatherings or other parties. Hugging is only appropriate if they like the other person, whether it's a grandparent, friend, or anybody else in the family.
Teach them not to hug strangers and discourage them from accepting anything in exchange for a hug or any other touches. Remind them how important their personal space is to them and how they can express it without being rude.
When you teach your child not to be forced into hugs, allowing them the opportunity to make a decision for themselves about hugging someone, allows them the chance to develop self-worth and independence which benefits both mental health as well as physical growth!
So, now you know why YOU should hug your child/children more often, go ahead and strengthen your bond with your littles/youngsters/even the kids who have already flown the coop.
A hug from both sides has several advantages; as a result, the next time your child wants to hug you, do not hesitate — it would make their life better for them (and for you)!