Has to Give Daddy a Hug & Kiss as Soon as He Comes Home

Updated on March 14, 2011
J.T. asks from East Northport, NY
21 answers

Hi Moms,

Maybe I am over reacting, but this is really bothering me... Whenever Daddy comes home for lunch or at the end of the workday as soon as he walks in the house he wants our daughter (3 yrs old) to run over to him and give him a hug and kiss.

If she does not he gets angry with her, and then me because I did not teach her to do it. My thought is that if she is in the middle of something then he should wait until she is done. She always comes over if he gives her time but if he tries to force it she starts to cry, runs to Mommy, and then it really hits the fan.

Not sure how to deal with this... any suggestions?

BTW he also says that she is spoiled and does not listen, but I do not see that in her - I work from home and she is usually very well behaved and listens to me 95% of the time. For the other 5% I start a countdown and if I get to 1 then she gets a time out. I can count on one hand the number of time outs I have had to give her. She is very well behaved with me.... I just don't know what goes on with him, but it is almost like he expects a dog that jumps at his masters command as opposed to a 3 year old with thoughts and plans of her own....

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Okay so I broached the topic of advance notice with my husband and he said No. If I need to prep her then he does not want a hug and kiss. Then he did not come home from work until an hour later than normal and wouldn't talk to me all evening.

This morning she was playing when he was ready to leave for work. He went into the den and told her he was leaving. She did not get up, so he put on his coat and went out the door. Then of course she wanted a kiss and hug good bye, fortunatly he forgot his keys so he had to come back in. She got her hug and kiss and then we waved bye bye at teh front window like we do EVERY morning when he leaves for work.

Featured Answers



answers from Salt Lake City on

Maybe he has watched too many movies and expects his family to be like that. My husband is good with " Hey Dad" running and hugging the moment he gets home is just too much. Is it possible to ask him why he thinks this is necessary and if he wants an hug from his daughter he should just say- "Hey I am home how about a hug for dad" or just give up the dream kids dont act on command

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from New York on

It sounds like Daddy and daughter are very much alike... do something on "my terms" or "not at all". This is pretty typical for preschool-aged children in general.

I would have a conversation with your husband about finding some middle ground. Could your husband call you when he's about 5 minutes away so you can give her the "wrap-it-up" signal? I would also suggest that the two of them start spending some time alone together- suggest that daddy take her to the park or to do something fun so that she can connect him with fun times, rather than making affection a "routine".

I can't get a picture of your husband from your post, but it may simply be that he wants to see her as soon as he gets home (maybe this is how his father was greeted?) and she needs time to transition b/w "mommy-and-me" and "family time".

I'll share this with you... I work full time outside of our home and an hour away. My husband does drop-off and pick-up and they are usually home a good 30 minutes before I am. For a while, I would come home and simply be "unnoticed" for a solid 5 minutes before my son would look up and say "oh hi mommy" b/c he was doing something with my husband. Frankly, it hurt. I had missed him all day and he seemed totally unphased. I mentioned it to my husband and he suggested that I call and give them an ETA, which I started doing. On his end, he would tell our son "Mommy is almost home. Let's surprise her at the door!" and he would jump on me with a huge hug! Now when he hears the phone ring in the afternoon, he knows that I'm almost home and he will listen for the garage door.

I have also made a point of doing 1:1 activities with my son on the weekends and one evening a month. That's "our time" and we both love it. It really has made a difference.

Try to think about it from his perspective... it's crushing when you come home from a long day (even if your spouse had one too) and it feels like no one cares that you're home. Just a different perspective.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

My husband expects us all to great him when he gets home, that includes a big hug from me and all the kids. His feelings get hurt if we don't.

Sometimes, it's annoying because I'm in the middle of something or the boys are, but then I thought about it. It's pretty rude to not greet a person who has been out all day working for your expense.

I know when I get home from a long day, it hurts my feelings if my kids or spouse ignores me. We are trying to teach our kids (and ourselves as well) that it is a good thing to be happy and greet each other after any absence, and to not be so self-absorbed that we can't do that.

Children as young as 3 can be taught respect like this. Allowing it to go on can possibly result in the detached way I see older kids talk and treat their parents disrespectfully and ignore them. Really, it's the fundamental basics of teaching a child respect.

It sounds like you should encourage her to be excited to see her daddy when he gets home. It sounds like you could work on your attitude toward him as well.

I think you and your husband need to combat this positively and calmly. He shouldn't get mad at her, that will only make her not want to greet him, but you should encourage everyone to be welcoming. There is a compromise here somewhere.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think your daughter should stop what she's doing and go greet daddy! What a great way to show her to put others before herself! Especially someone who loves her beyond comprehension, and who is working for her -- to keep her clothed and fed, etc. He's caring for her. She can learn to show him she cares for him and appreciates what he's doing all day.

She's 3 -- I doubt she's doing anything that can't wait for 30 seconds while she greets him.

For the record, I would say the same thing if you were working outside the home and had just returned. We should treat each other in our homes like we are the most important people on earth. Nobody else will treat us like that. I think stopping what we're doing -- no matter who you are -- and showing someone love and appreciation is a good thing. (I also would feel kind of bummed if I showed up at home after a long day of work and my kid couldn't tear herself away from the Play-doh to say hello.)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

This reminded me of when I was a child. Only it was my MOTHER who would RUN to the door and fling herself into my dad's arms for a big hug and kiss. By high school, my sibs and I would be muttering under our breath "get a room already". Of course, looking back, it's wonderful that many, many years into their marriage they were still "in love". And now in their 60's they still act like this - it warms my heart.

Ok, so back to your problem. I can see why your husband wants his baby girl to come running to him - don't ALL daddy's want that? Maybe right before he gets home you could tell your daughter "Daddy will be home soon! You know what makes him SUPER HAPPY? A big hug from YOU because you're his special girl!" Make it something she enjoys doing and looks forward to. Once she gets in the habit of running to daddy, your problem will be solved. On the other hand, if your husband keeps *demanding* that she does this, she's going to start dreading him coming home. He's turning what should be a warm, happy experience (YAY! DADDY'S HOME!!) into a bad experience that gives her a knot in her stomach every time she hears the front door open. Try to explain this to your husband. There's nothing wrong with HIM going to HER and giving her a hug and kiss when he gets home. Does she SOMETIMES run to him? If so, obviously daddy getting home IS something that makes her happy. Tell him to plaster that smile on his face and accept her hugs and kisses, and on those days she doesn't run to him, HE should go to her. Just do whatever it takes to make Daddy-coming-home a good experience, and not a reason for a fight!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Johnstown on

He misses her. All he wants is to know that he's loved. It's very discouraging to be gone all day and have everyone ignore you like your nothing once you get home. I know. I've been there.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

This is a super easy fix...when you know he is on his way home, get your daughter excited about seeing him...play hiding and surprising him or something...or even just tell her I bet I can beat you and give daddy the first hug and kiss.

I do not see/understand your problem/resistence with helping her or wanting her to show her daddy some love when he gets home? If it makes him feel happy and loved what is the harm? If the shoe was on the other foot how would you feel if hubby told you he didn't want to interrupt her play to greet you after being away from her all day? I don't know about you but my feelings would be hurt.

~Although, I say this as a family who loves to greet Daddy, myself included! My kids are 7 & 5 (boys) and 3 (girl) and they all 3 run at Daddy as soon as he gets home for some love and to say hi and to walk on the ceiling (he holds them all upside down and they walk/dance on the ceiling) followed by "monkeys on his legs" (they sit on his feet as he tries to walk in to say hi to me and show me some love), it's their thing and they all love it, especially Daddy! From the very beginning I have always made Daddy coming home as something exciting and something to look forward to...we miss him very much for crying out loud...and he is out all day working hard so he can support us/take care of us...making sure he is shown some love at the end of the day when he finally gets to come home is the least I could do to make him feel appreciated for all that he does for us!

**Unlike some others on here, I do not see this as your hubby being controlling...I see this as your hubby wanting and asking to be loved and appreciated...when you think about it, it is good that he is expressing himself and telling you what he wants...but sad at the same time that he feels he is not being loved or appreciated and you guys are fighting about it, when it is really a simple fix!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

The statement that if your daughter feels forced to go to him, she comes to you and "it really hits the fan" is worrisome. Not sure how loud or angry or even rough "hits the fan" means.

Is he this angry about other little things? Does he get angry with her when she doesn't, as you put it, act like "a dog that jumps at his master's command"? If he's getting angry like this now, imagine when she's a little older -- four, five, six -- and is really deeply involved in something at the moment he comes in and he gets a distant, "Oh, hi, dad" as she continues what she's doing. She could start to fear him if he is always angry with her for no reason she can understand.

Really think over his other behaviors with her and whether he really understands children her age, and her in particular, at all. He may need some parenting help. Would he actually listen to you, and not get angry because he felt criticized, if you found a calm and child-free moment to sit down and talk to him about WHY she doesn't run to him open-armed EVERY night, and why she gets distressed when he forces it, etc.? If you know he will just get angry at even a calm, kind discussion -- without blame and with love -- then you both need to seek some counseling and parenting help so he can calm the anger and get to know her as a person, not as a pet that should obey instantly. Often people who won't listen to the spouse will pay more attention to a third party. If he really does get angry, and nothing is changing, he and she are getting set up for a difficult relationship where Mom will be always in the middle.

If he absolutely refuses any kind of counseling, go on your own to learn new ways to cope with him, but try to get him to go for her sake. Does he really want to be the reason she's crying and running away from him, not toward him?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

We all imagine what our children will be like, how they will behave, the moments we will have with them. Once we become parents, we need to let go of those imaginings and embrace the reality, which is better than our minds could create anyway. We also need to remember that we are teaching our children how to interact with the whole world, not just us....

I don't believe children should ever be forced to show affection. Mine are required to be polite, but to show affection? No. Here's why:

I was forced to give affection on demand as a child. I am a bright enough person, but what I learned from it was that it was OK for people "in authority" to demand affection from me. And that I was required to give it. You can imagine how this played out for me as I became a young woman. I don't think any Daddy wants that for his daughter.

Perhaps it would help to remind him that her future relationships with men will be based upon how he interacts with her now. I don't think he'd want those men to expect her to give affection on demand. Nor do I think he'd want her to expect them to be angry with her if she did not.

ETA: I do think expecting her to acknowledge he has come home is "teaching her to be polite". If it really is just a matter of his feelings being hurt, then you could help ramp her up, as others have suggested if he gives an ETA. However, his anger gives me pause...

ETA2: Because I don't demand affection from my 3 boys, they give it to me it pretty freely (age 1,2 and 6) !

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Poor daddy – I would give him some real sympathy for openers. He's in pain over this, and it's translating into anger. And then express your concerns and observations about how his attitude is off-putting to your child.

He works all day to help give this child a good life. He has the idea that she should be affectionate and appreciative. He probably grew up with similar treatment from a family member who forced him to show affection, and thinks this is just how it's done. He may think this is his right as a father. He may misunderstand how real affection grows; it's even possible he's never felt affection that he didn't somehow believe he had to 'earn' or coerce in some way (this can be deeply unconscious). And it sounds like he has some resentment toward a family who doesn't respect him as he thinks they should. He may be angry if you rub his nose in the great relationship you apparently have with your daughter. He's carrying a pretty big burden of emotional discomfort, and unless he gets some tender understanding, he may be no more capable of easing off on his exptectations than your daughter is able to drop everything and kiss him joyously.

His expectations are harmful, however. Children have a hard time showing affection to a parent who's often angry and demanding, and that pattern drives a bigger wedge as the child grows up. Children who are required to disregard their own feelings in order to please someone else are at greater risk of choosing abusive friends, being abused by other family members, falling prey to an abusive outsider, and eventually marrying an abusive spouse. Children who are guilted into showing affection are more likely to become adults who guilt others into showing affection, and that take s a toll on the overall quality of their relationships.

This may take some work on your part, but I'd gently reassure him that your daughter will become more affectionate and empathetic if she's given time to grow up a bit more. A 3yo is just not mature enough to realize how great it would be to kiss daddy when she's deeply engaged in something else – she's just too 'immediate' in her impulses, and will be for another year or two. If he can give her time to make the transition, her kisses and hugs will be sincere. I'd also help her make that transition if you know when daddy will arrive home (perhaps he could call you 20 minute before if his arrival time varies). Help swing her imagination toward greeting daddy. Plan something fun every day – a picture she drew for him, a welcome home song or cookie, presenting him with the dinner menu you'll all enjoy together, etc.

If the problem persists of deepens, encourage hubby to talk to a counselor about his irritations, or read about children's emotional development so that he can recognize his daughter is normal and his situation is not unusual (here's one quick source: http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1291675/m....

Good luck to your family.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

explain to your 3 yr old this would be anice gesture since daddy is feeling left out i bet she does it more.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Hi J.-

Maybe your husband and you can meet some where in the middle with this issue. (I see both sides of the disagreement so therefore, I would do something like this if it bothered me.)

***Husband comes home from work AND walks over to your daughter where she is playing and says "Hello darling, how are you?" Your daughter gives eye contact (at least for a second) and says something like...."I'm fine Daddy. Look at what I'm building." Husband/Daddy then makes a positive comment and kisses child on the forehead or pats top of head so not to disrupt her concentration as she continues to build. When she stops for a minute, your husband can say something like.... "Honey, I would love to get a kiss and a hug from you." "Oh.... I've missed my little cutie pie so much..." (Maybe she'll run over and do it then.)

My husband is the same way but we does something like the scenario I describe above. Sometimes they do stop everything and run over to kiss him and say "Daddy' home!" When they do that, that makes his day working to support the family, much more worth it! But sometimes even as 9 yr olds, they barely take their eyes off what they are doing for a few minutes before running over for a hug. He kisses the top of their heads when they look busy.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

**ADDING THIS: you said that Hubby ALSO thinks his Daughter is spoiled and does not listen.
SO to me that means: HE has to CHANGE his attitude toward her... and LEARN parenting skills. Because, a child is not one neat little perfect package. If HE cannot deal with her, as a child... then this WILL impact, his relationship with her, and then later, how your Daughter, views "men."
HE... has to learn.. how to nurture her. A girl. Otherwise, she will grow up, NOT being close to him, and she will NOT go to him, for any problems/concerns or otherwise. Then, does he WANT her to grow up, finding the SAME kind of "man" for herself????
HE has to think about that.
A child, a girl... is very much, counting on her Dad for how she forms her OWN, feelings and ideas, about a "man."

Being a Dad... is not just about how your daughter pleases You... it is also about, how you can realize things about her... and how YOU can please and nurture, your child.
It is not- a 1-way street.

He REALLY, needs to learn, how to treat her.
His way, is not good.

Whoa, your Husband is real controlling huh?
that is not good for his daughter.

He needs to realize, that a child is a child. They are learning from him and are not perfect. They are not robots.

Maybe, have him read, books about the development of children.

A good book is: "Your Three Year Old" from Amazon. They have books for each age of the child, and what their development is like. An easy read. Although written years ago... it is still very pertinent.

Now, your Husband has to realize, that a child is not a robot.
They are IMPERFECT. NO matter how good or bad, the parent is.
That is childhood.

The 'rapport' between your Daughter and her Dad, will suffer, if he does not... learn... how to be a Dad. And that his "expectations" on her... are not appropriate.

Now, in some cultures, a Dad, does expect the children to kiss/greet them upon coming home. This may sound like an old fashioned or a chauvanistic attitude, but it exists. Or it may be the way HE grew up.
Regardless, my husband was like that too. It is the way HE grew up and per his culture. But, it is rigid. And it serves NO good outcome, by treating a child that way.

A parent, CANNOT 'force' a child to be affectionate or to like them. That is earned. AND... per a child's age, they NEED to learn, their own feelings about comfort zones. What if a stranger was forcing your girl to hug/kiss him? Then what?
A child, needs to learn boundaries too... for themselves and in telling others.

If your Daughter is ambivalent about her Dad... then well, that is HIS... creating that.

As you said, a child is not a pet dog.

Next: your Husband... has to CHANGE his anger about it. His reaction of "hitting the fan" about it and getting so angry... is SOOOOO not good, for you or your child.
He is not the 'child' here.
A "Dad" ... has to be nurturing of his girl too.
How he 'reacts' to her... will affect her.
In negative ways.
No wonder... she feels forced.

I'm sorry... but with my Husband, it is how he grew up. But I SPEAK to him about it... and he has made TONS of improvement. His own Dad... was a real... 'strict' man... rigid. So that is all my Husband knew.
He has since, gotten more 'modernized' about his expectations...

all the best,

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I can see him being disappointed when she doesnt acknowledge him, but making her cry about it is going too far. Why doesnt he just go give her a hug and a kiss if she doesnt? Dads have a lot less patience with kids than moms do. My husband gets annoyed after being with them for 30 minutes, I cant imagine how he would do all day. Thank God for moms! ;)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I didn't read through all the responses. It sounds like he is overreacting, but likely out of sadness, or feeling like he is not connected to his daughter. Who knows what is really going on in his mind. I think for most dads who work out of the home, it can be really hard when they're away all day--the feel like they miss out--they're working hard, away from the family, and they want to feel that the kids are happy to see them when they return. But because he's not with her all day, he has unrealistic expectations about behavior (this happens in our house too--when you're not with them, you don't know what a typical child of that age should and could do).

We had a similar problem for awhile--my husband was very hurt because our son seemed uninterested. I read somewhere that modeling is important in this situation. So when my husband came in the door, I made a point to stop whatever I was doing, and go over and greet him, give a hug, kiss, etc. It helped. It not only improved their relationship, but also taught our son that, when someone comes into the room, there's a right way to acknowledge them.

Another thing that REALLY helped was to visit daddy at work for lunch. I don't think my son understood where daddy went all day, why he left, etc. I think maybe he sort of resented that daddy wasn't around, yet would come in the door and suddenly want to be a part of it all. So we went to his work and had lunch, then went and saw daddy's office, took a picture of daddy and son sitting at daddy's desk--when we went home, we colored a special picture for daddy to hang in his office.

Good luck--I'm sorry that this is causing conflict, and it sounds like it's hard on you. If I were you, I'd make these changes and see if it works itself out.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I love the ideas about telling her Daddy's coming lets surprise him with a picture, hiding from him, racing her to the door! this may work for a three yr old but Good luck when she's older! he may have to change!
about him getting angry at her too easily, get some books about children and if he wont read them read aloud the parts about three year olds, like How to talk to your KIds so kids will listen. and Happiest Toddler on the Block, and the worlds easiest guide to family relationships.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spartanburg on

My 50cents: demostration of affection should not be required, it should be the natural consequence of a serene, joyful, loving relationship and even if the relationship between your daughter and daddy is already like this, he should not expect a child (who plays, day-dreams, is active in so many ways physically and mentally) to have a pavlov-like, therefore mindless, behavior just because he would like that. I think a little spontaneity (sp?) in the end will be appreciated by both, if he could only see that absence of physical affection is NOT absence of love for him. I guess what I am trying to say is that he should not take it personally...sometimes children are busy!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

i think maybe you could talk to her and explain that it makes daddy feel happy and know she loves him if she gives him a hug. i also think a little understanding of what your hubby may be feeling is in order.

As a mom who works outside the home full time with SAHD I can completely understand your hubby! The absolute BEST part of my day is when I walk in the front door in the evening and my 2 1/2 yr old runs yelling "mom you home!" and wraps his arms around me. I get teary eyed just thinking of it now. My DS behaves perfectly for dad all day but acts up once I am home. it really puts a strain on your heart as it seems they just don't relate to you as well since they are with the other all day.

Talk to your husband, try to understand how it feels to be away all day and need that interaction and love from a child.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Wow! I could have written this same post! I have a 3 1/2 y/o daughter & my husband is EXACTLY the same way. I find he's pushing her alot to give a hug or kiss at other times too, and she just resists him. I've explained to him, that she will do it on her own time, and not on command, why would he even do that? Anyways, my thoughts are the same as yours, 3 y/o are busy little people, and they do what they want, when they want. Every day we spend helping them to become independent, ie... potty training, teeth brushing, etc. etc. The hubby's need to understand this more & have respect for the little people that they are who do have their own minds & thoughts. Good luck to you, I"m right there with you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

My 3 year old daughter does the same thing with her Dad. Thank God my husband understands. Not that I don't think that he feels badly sometimes but he does understand that it is the age and that she spends most of her time with Mommy and therefore I am the one she goes to first.
My husband is self employed and is away from the home 12-13 hours a day 7 days a week. He sees his daughter sleeping in the morning and for about an hour to and hour and a half in the evening before she has to go to bed, so I can understand that his feelings may be hurt of she is not as excited to run to him the minute he walks in the door.
I find that my daughter almost plays a game and teases my husband when he walks in the door. If he just goes up for his shower, my daughter then wants to know where Daddy is and gets upset he is not there to play with her.
I guess I would say first off that your husband has to grow up and understand that she is just 3 years old and will come around as she gets older and gains a better relationship with him. Perhaps set aside some time on a weekend or on his day off that he can spend time with her...just Daddy and daughter time. Maybe that will help reassure him that his daughter does love her Daddy too.
No, she is not a dog and she will not jump the second he comes in the door...as you said, if she is in the middle of something, what she is doing is very important to her and she does not feel she has to stop because at her age...she is the center of the universe. Perhaps if he just quietly hangs up his coat and gets down on the floor and asks her what she is doing...tries to be interested in what she is doing then she will see that he in interested and will begin to talk and explain whats going on.
You know, it is hard sometimes to juggle Daddy and children. Sometimes you are not even sure which one is the child...LOL
Hang in there. And let him know it is he that needs to calm down and not make a big deal of things. She will come around if he doesn't force the issue. If he is forceful, she may not feel comfortable with him.
Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I am sorry, but somethings seems off with him. It is not a big deal. He sounds like he has control issues. She is not a pet like you said. I am sorry but if she is good 95% of the time like you said. I do not understand why he would feel this way with his daughter. I would keep her close, she is just a child. My kids love there father and he adores them, when he comes home my son runs to him, but not all the time. Our older child especially does not always go to him, she would say hello what more do they want. I will not force my child to give anyone effection if they do not want to.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions