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Hugs & Kisses Not Just for Valentine's Day

Speak from your heart and give kids lots of hugs this week and always, say the experts.

As Valentine’s Day is almost here, this is a perfect time to think about the power of a good hug.

“There is lots of research emphasizing the significance of touch, both with humans, and monkeys,” notes Dr. Talia Ziv, a West Bloomfield-based relationship and parent coach.

If you have teenagers, hugging doesn’t always come easy, but Ziv doesn’t want parents to give up.

“Adolescents push away because it's part of their process of detaching from their parents,” she said. “But they need a loving touch — even when the hugs are pushed away. Consider a comforting touch on the hand, the arm, even loving eye contact,” she said. 

Family therapist Marcie Wagner of Birmingham refers to research by Professor Joan LeFebvre, of Family Development at the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

“Today’s children are experiencing a hectic world with so much technology and media, along with busy schedules, so the more hugs the better,”Wagner said. “Technology can add to the disconnect of nurturing experiences,” she added. Wagner suggests that parents simply slow down with their kids, and, “read a book or go for a walk while holding hands.”  

Another simple touching act can be a mere ruffling of your child’s hair. These non-verbal acts go a long way, not only on Valentine’s Day, but every day.

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