We’re concerned about our 15-year-old daughter who used to be so affectionate with us. Now she hates hugs — even from her friends. Whenever we try to hug her or even kiss her on the cheek, she does her best to avoid us. Should we be concerned about this?
Many parents find it difficult to adjust to the ups and downs that go along with having a young teenager. As a young person moves into the teen years, they are grappling with many physical and emotional changes. A child who was formerly bubbly and affectionate can become moody and withdrawn.
It’s difficult to say exactly why your daughter is shying away from physical affection, but it may have something to do with the extreme self-consciousness that often accompanies the early teen years.
Girls in particular have a difficult time adjusting to the many changes in their body as they go through puberty. Raging hormones and awakening sexuality can also cause a teen to feel uncomfortable with physical affection.
My suggestion would be to grant your daughter the space and time she needs to adjust to adolescence. Don’t pester her with questions about why she’s acting differently—chances are she won’t be able to articulate what she’s feeling.
Be as supportive as you can, and let her know that you know its difficult being a teenager. In fact, it might be helpful to share some of the struggles that YOU went through when you were a teen.
If the problem persists or you begin to see other behaviors that seem unusual, I’d suggest you talk to a counselor who specializes in working with adolescents.
Thanks for writing, Lisa.
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