Why Won’t My Daughter Hug Me?

Editor asks the Mendham-Chester community for some parenting advice.


Many years ago in another life it seems, when I had much less to say, I was employed as a columnist. This was before blogging made everyone a columnist. As an editor, I always felt as if sharing my thoughts allowed for more of a connection with the community that I served. And I promised myself before we launched Mendham-Chester Patch that I would only write a column if I had something to say.

And today I do.

One of the things I have noticed in my travels through the community is the high level of interaction between parents and their children. On Main Street, sitting in eateries, watching a sporting event or even just sitting at a stop light in an intersection. The family unit in the Mendhams and the Chesters is highly engaged. And I think it is interesting because so many have lamented the loss of the family bond in our current society. So when faced with a little crisis of my own, I thought to myself, “Who better to advise me than these folks, who seem to have it down?”

You see, I am a relatively new father. I have an 11-month-old daughter named Natalie Rose who is without a doubt the reason I was put here on this Earth (delivering you wonderful community news is a close second). I adore the time I get to spend with her, I delight in the little things she does as she grows and develops likes and dislikes and her own little personality. There is only one small problem.

My daughter hates me.

Ok, I am overstating. But that is how it feels. For whatever reason, no matter what the circumstances, my child will not hug me. Hugs her mother. Hugs her grandmothers. Hugs her dolls. She even tries to hug the cats. Ask her to hug Daddy? She stiff arms my face, leans back and whines like I gave her cough syrup. It doesn’t matter the conditions. We laugh and joke and bond just find. Every morning we split a cup of honey nut cheerios and take turns feeding one another while we watch Phineas and Ferb. And even after a good chunk of quality time she still would rather hug her plush Mickey than her old man.

In fact, she’s actually pushed me out of the way to give a hug to my wife.

Now academically I know she doesn’t actually hate me. That won’t come until she is a teenager. But there is some small part of me that can’t help but be bummed out about it. So I’m curious. After seeing you guys out in the community with such terrific connections with your kids, am I doing something wrong? Is this something that will get better with time? Do you have any surefire bonding tips to pass along?

I know it isn’t the  end of the world. But any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go hug Mickey.

Chester Mom February 03, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Same thing happened to me, and I'm a stay-at-home mom. It is just a phase usually. It broke my heart, so to change it, I gave even more than 100%. Do do nighttime routine with her? Try creating more special moments, just the two of you. Wishing you the best. I am sure it will pass it time. It did for us as well.
Russ Crespolini February 03, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Thanks, Chester Mom. I am trying my best to do routine stuff with her now. We are all adjusting to my new work schedule here at Patch so sometimes I am not around at consistent times. I am going to come up with some new ideas this weekend to see if I can make those moments more just for her and her daddy. :-) Like Bruce said...no manuals with these kids!
Jeff Brown February 16, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Must be the hat.
Russ Crespolini February 16, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Jeff, it is entirely possible. Although, she seems to get a kick out of it when I put it on to leave the house. Its either because I look like Perry the Platypus or because she knows I'm leaving and she's happy about it...
Tracy Tobin March 21, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Russ Wait a few years and she will give you hugs for no reason at all. Only after she leaves will you find out she took your car keys and a ten dollar bill because her car is out of gas and she has to get to school. Treasure the moments because all your children will grow up too fast. An old Kodak commercial "Turn around and shes 21 and going out the door."


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