Ep. 64 – Hug Your Teenager: Don’t Be “Cool”

Empowering Choices Parenting Podcast
Empowering Choices Parenting Podcast
Ep. 64 - Hug Your Teenager: Don't Be "Cool"

In Episode 64 of the Empowering Choices Parenting Podcast, titled “Hug Your Teenager,” hosts Joshua, Lucas, and Erik delve into the complexities of physical affection within families, particularly between parents and teenagers. The episode begins with a candid discussion by Erik about misconceptions teenagers might have about rebelling against spending time with their parents. Erik shares, “I had a session with two teenagers who said, well, I guess now I’m a teenager, that I’m supposed to be rebellious, so I’m not supposed to want to spend time with my parents.” This sets the stage for a broader conversation about the importance and challenges of maintaining physical closeness.

As the discussion unfolds, Lucas explores the potential impact of technology on physical affection, pondering how devices could simulate the feeling of a hug. This technological tangent leads to a more serious examination of how physical affection is perceived differently by generations and genders. Joshua questions whether men might struggle more with showing affection, to which Erik responds, “No studies show that guys are worse at affection than women…it’s generally coming out of belief systems and customs.”

The counselors also address the critical issue of consent and empowerment in familial relationships. Erik stresses the importance of children having the autonomy to choose when and how to engage in physical affection, noting, “What you’re doing with your child is you’re saying you don’t get a choice…That’s a really bad message to send to your child.” This part of the conversation highlights the delicate balance parents must navigate in teaching their children about consent and personal boundaries.

Lucas shares personal anecdotes to illustrate how parents can respect their children’s comfort levels with affection. He mentions offering his child alternatives to hugs at bedtime, such as a high five or a wave, emphasizing the need to respect individual preferences within affectionate exchanges: “You want a hug, you want a high five, you want a wave.”

The episode wraps up with a reminder of the overarching theme of the podcast: understanding and adapting to one’s child’s needs. Erik sums up the discussion by encouraging parents to maintain open lines of communication: “And I think the affection is one of those. I know probably one of the reasons that these parents regretted it is that they may have had children later on that were noticing, ‘Hey, I’m not really huggy touchy to my kids.'” For more insights, visit empoweringchoices.community or download the Empowering Choices Parenting app for additional resources and courses on parenting fundamentals.


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