You might be surprised at this last part of my blog series, “10 Ways to Push Your Teen Away.” We are going to wrap it all up with a pretty bow called affection.
I think the reason some might be surprised is because it has never crossed their mind the importance of showing affection to your teen. In fact, for some parents it might actually feel very uncomfortable.
And then for other parents, they get the sense that their teen doesn’t want affection. In fact, you might be outright rejected when you attempt to give a hug. But don’t let that deter you.
Your teen not only wants affection, they crave it. They need to be touched, physically acknowledged by you as their parent. A lack of affection can make them feel insecure. And if your teen is left to feel insecure, they are likely to pull away from you.
I will admit that it can feel awkward when your teen’s body starts to change. As a mother of two sons, I sense the difference between showing affection to my 12-year-old compared to my 17-year-old.
My 12-year-old son will still snuggle in close to me on the couch. With my 17-year-old son, the snuggling has stopped. But I have found different ways to show affection to my oldest son.
For instance, he still gets hugs. However they are sideways hugs. And I am always giving him a pat on the back or ruffling his hair.
A touch from a parent is powerful. It is yet another expression of your love for your teen. You don’t have to be scared to show appropriate types of affection. In fact if they aren’t getting it, they might be more inclined to find it elsewhere.
So what about the teen who seems to shrug off your affection or outright complain? Can I let you in on a secret when it comes to teenagers…they often say one thing but mean something else. I have especially found this to be true with my daughter.
Of course, if you truly get the sense that your affection is angering your child, you certainly don’t want to push it on them. And you must also be wise about when you display affection.
For some teens, hugging them in front of their friends is a big no-no. You might be surprised to learn that despite my 12-year-old son still being a snuggler, he doesn’t like me to hug him in front of his friends.
And yet my 17-year-old son has no problem coming up to me and giving me a hug when his friends are around. So each child may be different.
If you don’t want to push your teen away, then show some affection. They are never too old for it.
Photo by kalilo in stock.xchng