Insincere Hugs

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I wondered if anyone else’s kids do the insincere hug thing. M has always had trouble (even greater since we’ve been in therapy) giving and receiving a hug. I thought he was a normal cuddly child, but maybe there was more to it and I just wasn’t sensitive to it. Now his hugs are insincere and painful. I try to make sure it’s not that I don’t want to be near him. What he does is hug me and then release me slowly and continue to “caress” me as he lets go. Maybe I’m just whacked or maybe it’s his former abuse. It just disturbs me. It’s almost like I’m a possession.  I hate the feeling of not wanting a hug but I really do struggle.  Tell me I’m not alone. I know it’s part of his RAD. Trying to keep it all in perspective.

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  1. I thought I was the only one! My lil guy (still a foster child) hugs like this. And he does indeed view me as a possession. i never made the connection before, though…

  2. Glad I’m not the only one!! My daughter is a creepy hugger… all arms and no eyes, leaves me feeling… creepy. I have even tried “teaching” her how to hug, with very specific instructions. All to no avail. The therapist thinks I’m crazy. ” She’s such a sweet, affectionate little girl”

  3. My daughter sometimes hugs WAY too hard and too long.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You are not alone!

  5. Marty, I’ve been offline, but wanted to respond to this. TRUST YOUR JUDGMENT! We don’t do that enough with our kids, because we want to give them the benefit of the doubt. I went to a great seminar where a therapist talked about just this. She said that we should not assume our kids know anything. She said that when they hug us wrong, or in a dominant manner, to stop them and show them how a kid is supposed to hug. To teach them. Our son tried to be dominant with his hugs, and we firmly showed him over and over how KIDS are supposed to hug, and explained that he was very observant but he had been watching Mommies and Daddys hug their kids. But, kids should hug like kids, not parents or boyfriend/girlfriend. It took a while, but he learned, and I can’t tell you the last time I felt uncomfortable with him hugging me. Don’t know if this made sense or not. (((Hugs))) to you.

  6. We went through a phase like this. Like Barb G, I say teach him the right way to hug. I love the way Katharine Leslie does this.

    1. It is always on parent’s terms – meaning YOU initiate.
    2. Parent is always dominant (your arms are on top/ outside).
    3. ONLY parents can pat or rub backs.

    We also did “side hugs” for awhile (not chest to chest). Remind me some time to tell you the story of what the insane attachment therapist told me to do when I asked him what to do about our fully grown, sexually mature teenage boy who was “nuzzling” my chest and giving me creepy sexual hugs.


  7. Adoptee says:

    Now I know you will get an email notifying you of this comment, and likely you will disregard it. But, dear, I think you need to really explore the world of adoptees. I mean, really go into it and listen to the people who have been on the other side of the experience. I know it is easy to only listen to the people who reinforce our own perspectives- such as the other amoms on here- and I surely fall into that trap myself. But, what you are describing in your posts is a heart completely shut off from compassion- you seem to have zero compassion or love for the child God has entrusted you with. I encourage you to read books- not psychological books, not academic books, but books of the heart- written by adoptees and/or children who have struggled with abandonment and abuse. If you refuse to go there, you will only continue to suffer. You must understand that this boy has experienced the worst thing a human being can experience- the abandonment by the very people who were supposed to love him the MOST. Imagine for a moment how your older children may have fared if you and your husband had abandoned them… it kind of breaks your heart, right?

    I am only reaching out to you as an adopted child. Your posts have really hurt some of us adoptees- there have been many angry tears- but I want to believe that you are a good person who has chosen a difficult path. Please stop penalizing your children for the emotional aftermath of choices they could not make. Adoption is a wounding experience, and being abused as a small child can ruin the soul. After all, how can one trust anyone after such things? Imagine for a moment how terrified that little boy must have been for so long, and how wounded he is now. He is looking to you for unconditional love- the same kind of love that God pours onto you. Please please please try to be a reflection of God’s love and not a reflection of your own selfish desires or fears.

  8. Adoptee – I’ve debated whether or not to respond to your posts because I didn’t want to invite the hatred and abuse you’ve inflicted on Marty into my life, but I can’t stand to see you treat a woman who has become my friend the way you have been.

    I don’t know what kind of parenting you had, but the research we have available to us suggests therapeutic parenting – which is not all hugs and kisses and giving kids what they want to “make up” for what happened to them prior to coming in our lives. We have to teach our kids reciprocity – that means learning that they have to GIVE to GET. Only after they master that concept are they ready to start handling the idea of unconditional love.

    We make mistakes, but we’re doing the best we can. There is no instruction manual, and what works for one child may not work for another. We fight daily to do the best for our kids. ALL of our kids, not just the one (or more) with RAD. Casual observers from the outside, with no experience with our individual child(ren), despite having a similar background, often makes things worse. Do you seriously think it helps to run us (the parents) down instead of supporting and assisting us?

    Our kids come to us “damaged” and usually aggressive and abusive. If we were abused by a significant other in the way we are expected to accept from our children, we would be deemed “masochistic idiots.” We often suffer from post traumatic stress just as much as our children do.

    Forgive us for being human and not willing to be loving punching bags all the time. This is a tough job for which we get very little support. Instead of blogging about people you think are doing it “wrong,” why don’t you find ways to help support and encourage them?


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