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How often should we hug our kids?

Babe in the womb

One of the things that struck me as a midwife was how the womb hugs a baby and how this seems to have an impact on our later emotional life.

It’s just some insight that I had whilst working in this career. Having lived alone for so many years (24 yrs) and being part of a ‘kissy’, but not really a ‘huggy’ family, I have felt the effect of the lack of hugs. I seemed to manage emotionally while I lived at home but once I started to live on my own- devoid of human contact…the lack of being held and hugged became 

acute. When I opened up and shared this during a time of ministry at a prayer meeting, I was shocked at the response: a smirk! The lady who was ministering to me just didn’t get the pain of not being hugged/ touched regularly.

My own experience

My parents were awesome (RIP), and I definitely felt deeply loved…but they could only give me what their parents gave them. I didn’t feel nurtured enough or important enough in their eyes….or just plain …enough! I wanted to have parents who were interested in the

colours I liked or who would just hold my face in their hands and tell me things that they loved about me. Instead, they stressed the importance of studying and anything else about life took second place. I kissed my parents ‘good morning’/’goodnight’ and even throughout the day…but it was usually initiated by myself. Don’t get me wrong- I love my parents! And as I said- I knew I was loved…But somehow, I still wasn’t getting enough…

The close friends I made in my 20’s also didn’t hug that much….only on saying hello or goodbye. Maybe I was attracted to people who were just like me!? Or maybe it’s just a British thing?! I was hoping that a romantic relationship would sort all this out…but that didn’t happen in any meaningful way, and so I just remained ‘unhugged’.

My theory

But back to my theory! I feel that God created us to be held in tightness in the womb for a reason. This is our start in life, and the sense of being covered by our mother’s love, safety and loving warmth is partly delivered through this huge tight hug from our mother’s womb. This ‘tightness’ is something that we all need 

to have replicated in order to continue to feel loved throughout our lives. Hugging brings with it a sense of belonging, comfort, being cared for and that you really matter! So, I guess what I am saying is that we are always looking for that sensation of being held throughout our lives so that we can feel good, happy and that we belong. This need to be held, in my thinking anyway, is God’s design.

Hug for good and long!

20 second hugs release the ‘feel good’ hormone oxytocin. It has been nick-named ‘the love hormone’ for obvious reasons. It creates a sense of closeness and belonging with the other person…of feeling loved! Vital if we are to survive on this planet. It also increases our immunity, decreases stress and improves our mental health. It gives us all sorts of cues that show us how to interact with one

another socially. Single people as well as those in families need it. We all need it without exception.

I think I read somewhere, that to thrive, we all need at least 8 hugs a day! Are you receiving and giving 8 X 20 second hugs a day?

For those of us who can’t get regular hugs there are other ways that we can receive our daily dose of essential, life-giving oxytocin – though nothing will ever replace a 1:1 interaction with a human being! Please check out the video link below for how to achieve this. It’s really helping me!

This is how God made us: “It’s not good for man to be alone” Genesis 2:18. Screen time on Skype/ Zoom just doesn’t cut it!

I came across this lady who gave a TedX talk on the importance and sheer necessity of living in a hugging culture. Take a look here and see what she has to say! What do you think? Happy Hugging!