Have you hugged your teen today?

Health Tip from the Nurse!

Have you hugged your teen today?  Part of parenting is being connected to your kids and, as they get older, it becomes more difficult to express physical affection.  Hugs, pats on the back and even touching their arm in conversation no matter how brief, all show a caring feeling towards them that they still miss even though they are aloof at times.  Research shows that although teens become more unreceptive to parental affection, it is still important that parents find ways that communicate caring and support to their teens. Words of love and affirmation, a smile or a good laugh together can create important connection between teens and their parents when physical affection seems a bit awkward.  Still for some, the degree of giving and receiving a loving touch, or hug, or kiss with parents is sometimes  permitted depending on mood and circumstance, maybe accepting and giving it more during close family times, for example, and resisting it when in front of friends. Parent-teen relationships are challenging, so keep sneaking in those pats on the back, bedtime hugs and shoulder rubs after a stressful day at school — your teen still needs to know that you are present and that you care. Hugs are also healthy:

Five Health Benefits of a HUG:

The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety. It also  boosts self-esteem  This helps with honest and open communication.

Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation and anger.

Holding a hug for an extended time can lift one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.

Hugs strengthen the immune system.  The gentle pressure stimulates the thymus gland which balances the body’s production of white blood cells which can help keep the body healthy.

Hugging relaxes muscles. Hugs release tension in the body. Hugs can take away pain; they soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues.