What to Do When Your Teen No Longer Hugs You

Feb 12, 2020

February - it’s the month of love and hugs, right? When you have a teen in your life, hugs may feel in short supply.

"Why doesn’t my teenager want to hug me anymore? What changed? All I want to do is give her a hug so she knows just how loved she is."

Sil, mom of three, ages 8-14

Aw, yes, I remember clearly when I leaned into to give my oldest kiddo, who was 12 years old at the time, a hug, and he put his hand up to say, “Not now, mom.” Ouch. I kept thinking that there must be something wrong because, here I was, an adolescent specialist, and my son was resisting my hug. It didn’t help any that the article sitting atop my desk stated, “Teens Need More Hugs.”

To be clear, we all need more hugs. Research has shown that hugs are incredibly effective at healing illness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety, and stress. They not only relax our muscles but they lift our serotonin levels, elevate our mood,...

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Do you listen to what your teen isn’t saying? (part 2 in a 3-part series)

Apr 24, 2019

[Continued from Part I. This is Part 2 in a 3-part series)

Part I: Are you Really Listening 

In part one of this series, we discussed that it is imperative for adults to do three things when speaking with teens:

(1)  Know that listening is an investment.

(2)  Be willing + open to listen

(3)  Pay attention to what they are saying AND doing.

I want to pause on that last point.

You must LISTEN to what they are doing.

Say wha? You must listen to what they aren’t saying, and you do that by paying attention to what they are doing, aka tuning into the non-verbal cues. Often an invitation to connect with your child doesn’t come with words, it comes through their actions and behavior, their body language and their facial expressions. Let’s break this down.

Actions and Behaviors: It isn’t what your teen says that always makes the impression; it’s what he does. Withdrawing, slamming doors, rolling eyes are all specific ways to send you a...

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Three Ways to Spark Your Teens Interest... and Yours, Too!

Jan 15, 2019

Today’s question is definitely one that hits close to home.

The question comes from Tracey, a mom of two: a 20-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son. And she said:

“I feel like all my son does is sit around and do nothing after-school and on the weekends. I keep telling him that he needs to find an activity or a cause. If he doesn’t, I’m going to choose one for him. Is that okay, or should I just wait until he chooses his own interests?”

I’ve had many parents ask me this, and it’s a great question.

The short answer is yes and yes. Yes, you need to give him some space. And, yes, after you give him some space, you can give him some ideas.

Here’s why…

For both parents and kids, there’s so much pressure. As parents, we want to create this perfect childhood experience for our little ones. And as kids, they want to please, especially us. It doesn’t matter if you’re 80, 45, or 14 — that pressure’s...

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Three Simple Ways to Show Teens They Matter

Oct 04, 2018

Do you remember when you were younger and thought anything was possible? Perhaps Superman was your hero, and you were convinced that draping a towel over your shoulders and jumping off the sofa made you just like him. Or maybe you loved Dorothy Hamill (yes, I’m dating myself now) and promptly got a cute haircut and skated around your house with your shoebox-inspired carpet skates. Do you remember when the possibilities in life were limitless?

Do you also remember when you convinced yourself that nothing was possible? Perhaps your parents said there was no way you could ever fly (breaking your wrist didn't help the case, did it?), or your best friend laughed at your now-not-so-trendy haircut. Whatever the case, mountains may have seemed too high to scale, and confidence no longer fueled your youthful naïveté. Those feelings impacted your choices, and they are impacting your child's, too.

You see, today's youth have those same feelings of power and powerlessness....

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