My son just turned 3 and his father and I aren't together. We have had a very rocky relationship. In the past year it is slowly getting better. I do not want to do anything to burn the bridges we have built. But I have a question regarding hugging. Whenever my son's father drops him off from a visit our son won't hug him goodbye. His father is progressively getting irritated and more verbally aggressive about this. At the last visit he forced a hug and told him he has to hug his father. Is there anything I can say that doesn't seem like I am attacking him. I feel as our son might be testing or needing some space. I don't always get as hug either. Thanks.
Obviously getting irritated and verbally aggressive won't help at all.
Does he see that you don't always get a hug, either?
A hug is physically rewarding, but there are also other ways of showing people you like them and care for them. Some people and children for that matter have some difficulty with physical contact.
If you can approach your ex-husband (or ex-partner), tell him he'd be better to find ways of gaining the child's trust and confidence, mostly by being together with him, doing activities together with him, being patient with him, rather than let him (the child) watch TV all the time or be otherwise idle, if he (the father) does.
This seems like a red flag to me. How often does your son NOT hug you? I suggest you all get into some kind of counseling. Maybe the child isn't taking the breakup as well as you might have thought, OR maybe he isn't handling the fact that you and his dad are becoming "friends" again. It's been many years since my pyschology course at school.....but isn't 3 about the age that boys begin to get "jealous" of dad?
Either way, I agree with Pendulum that his dad becoming verbal and complaining about the lack of hugging isn't going to help at all. As a mom I would be working on getting to the bottom of it.
I hate to hear these things being done to little kids. Never mind rocking the boat, this is YOUR BABY! Tell this man to stop trying to force the poor little thing to hug him, or he will end up hating and fearing his father. If he can't take this, then you surely do not want to inflict his bullying ways on your son for life! Your son's welfare must come first before any rekindling of romance happens. Sera
Children are too young to be forced, they are only capable of expressing emotion as they feel it. This is not to say that your child doesn't love his father, I believe he truly does. However, as a little boy, he has seen and heard things that were completely inappropriate, Can you honestly dispute that? The problems you are having now relate to the fact that your child is carrying residual memories of fights and turmoil.
Essentially, he believes that hugging his dad (particularly in front of YOU) is tantamount to betrayal. If you really want him to be able to relax with his dad, you must show & tell him that it's ok. Hey! You can fix this! A love problem is usually a good one... <grin>
I agree, the reasons for your son's reluctance to hug need to be investigated, AND in the meantime, his father being "irritated and verbally aggressive" and forcing the little boy to hug is something that I (and, I am sure, most mothers) would and should not tolerate. He needs his space as Rpett says, from both of you, so you telling him it is OK to hug Daddy will amount to both of you ganging up on him. Insist that you ex lets him be, he will come to him when he is ready to trust him, and nothing you or he can do will force this to happen any sooner. It must be HIS choice and his choice alone as to when and whom he hugs. My point also, is that if there is a choice between upsetting your ex, and letting him bully your son, it is a no-brainer. Sera
I'm sorry S, but I feel misrepresented by your reference.
Let's be clear about the original statement which included Daddy being cranky and forcing a hug.
OMG! That's freakin' abuse!!!! This child will hurt animals and be in therapy for the rest of his life!
OH COME ON...
Why must we drag out drama for every single show? The woman is worried, so you figure lighting a fire in her living room is gonna help? Nice one.
Is daddy dealing with it in the most ideal way? No. But they're both young and doing the best they can to nagivate the crazy terrain that they find themselves in. In many ways, daddy is still a boy himself, but she has careful/good influence to help guide him. And truthfully, parents make mistakes.
What's happened to us? No mistakes allowed? Seriously, we're becoming a creepy, fear based state where children are concerned. Ironically, it does nothing to fix the real problems. However, I digress. This boy is well loved. You needn't fear for him. Daddy is young and frustrates easily, but his heart is good. Plus, she will talk to him and calm him.
I don't think I am OTT about this...I am not suggesting any drastic action, but regardless of the fathers age and intentions ( which the child is too young to recognise anyway) I do not believe that forcing a child to hug you and getting verbally aggressive about it is in the best interests of the child. I still believe that mother must put her foot down, and I also believe that this behaviour is NOT motivated by love ("I love you so I will yell at you") but exercising power over a child. Why would you WANT a hug that was forced?? This original poster is not happy about it, and has asked for help in dealing with this. I am only offering my opinion. It is a far cry from making it clear to the father that his behaviour is unacceptable to "lighting fires in the living room". I have helped to run many therapy groups, and believe me, without being facetious about "hurting animals...etc", I have met many many people who have been brought up in homes where love and fear go hand in hand. Today it is hugs, tomorrow, who knows? Why would you give a little kid a moment's unhappiness over an issue like this? Sera
Ok first it actually can be normal for a child not to want to hug someone even their own parent and yes even that young of an age. More so if the person is somewhat of a stranger. Or there has been issues that make the child uncomfortable.
My nephew some times has to be reminded to hug his mom when she drops him off back to my brother or myself. There was a time when he was three that he had to be reminded every time to hug his mom. The reason being she caused a huge problem and my nephew knew it and didnt want to go to her anymore but considering a judge ordered him to spend time with her we had no choice in the matter. We didnt force him but just verbally reminded him that it would be nice to hug his mom.
Now my youngest son from the time he was born didnt like strangers. Dont ask me why but it was his nature. I was the only one he had no issues hugging. Even with his dad he would hesitate to hug when he left for tdys or returned from them. But other times he gave hugs freely to his father. This was when he was young ages about 2 to about 5.
Before anyone jumps on that my son had to deal with some trauma from his father or I stop because he hasnt. He has been raised in a loving home.
There could be a lot of reasons for him not wanting to hug but all we can do is guess at those reasons. The child is the only one who knows his reasons. As for the father he needs to be reminded that children even that young have a mind of their own. He needs to know that he cant get mad over the child not wanting to hug him. So as the mom you need to get him aside and talk to him. Let him know it isnt ok to force the hugs or to get mad about the lack of them. Tell him that he should just give the child time and the hugs will probably return.
DS 13 yr
DS 8 yr (3+ yrs ttc)
TTC #3 since 01/02