Hug It Out: The Power of A Hug

My grandpa used to say he could give us a hug that could crush our bones, those hugs that are so strong that you can feel them in your soul. Like all of us, I have also given many hugs to the people I love, some quick hugs, some bear hugs, and I have also applied my grandpa’s words while giving hugs that could crush bones.

My oldest son had a period in which he didn’t want to stay at school. He would cry every morning before I left him. So I started giving him bear hugs that could last all day.

I don’t remember exactly how I started, but over time I have realized the power that hugs can have on a child who is throwing a tantrum. Now, don’t get me wrong, hugs may not solve everything, but they do help both me and my child to look at the situation differently. My child starts to feel like I can understand him and I put myself more easily in his shoes, thinking of his age and trying to find the right words to say. (Sometimes this is not necessary and we just need a hug).

Recently, my two-year-old was throwing big tantrums at school that sometimes he ended up on the floor crying, but he doesn’t do this at home. When talking to his teachers about what we could be doing differently, I told them that if I saw that he was about to explode, I offered him a big hug. I don’t know if they only did this or applied some other technique, but within days his behavior improved.

Sometimes, when I don’t see a tantrum coming, my kids may reject my hug, but they usually come back and ask for it. My five-year-old, who has a strong personality (my way or the highway), most of the time disagrees with my decisions, but always comes back for a hug and usually opens up about what is bothering him.

Hugging a kid who is throwing a tantrum is not always easy, especially when they have exhausted our patience, but we need to take a deep breath and try to hug the little ones which most of the time will help us feel connected and calm.

I’m only talking from my personal experience, but there are also scientific facts that prove the big impact that hugging someone we love has. Hugs could help physically and emotionally, and some benefits include:

  • Stimulation and production of the oxytocin hormone, which helps strengthen the bond between people, in addition to encouraging joy, reducing anxiety and stress, according to Huff Post Health.
  • Lower the heart rate, as was shown by an experiment at the University of North Carolina between couples.
  • Babies who received more hugs were less stressed as adults, according to data by a study from Emory University, that discovered the link between touching and stress release, especially in early stages.

Even though receiving hugs has been proven to have positive effects on physical and emotional well being, receiving unwelcome hugs from unknowns may have the opposite effects.

After all this, I just want to encourage you to take a moment to hug your kids. That’s the only way you will experience the power of hugs.

Aidee is a proud Hispanic mom of two boys, an almost 4-year-old and a 9-month-old. She has lived in San Antonio for the past 9 years, when she married her husband and left her country to come with him and build a family. Currently, she works full time at Univision as a Digital Content Manager Editor. She loves her family, writing, and photography.