Too Much Hugging!

Updated on October 02, 2006
J.C. asks from Cuyahoga Falls, OH
13 answers

Hello, my daughter just got a note from her daycare, saying that she is hugging too much, and she is starting to hurt the girls.
Ok the history, the teacher at her last daycare let the kids hang on her, so when I would come in to pick her up, i would tell her to stop and take her arm, and get her coat.
One day I asked the teacher why she let the kids hang on her. her response " Oh it's ok, I dont mind." Ok then. I dropped it.
So towards the end of the school year she asked me to make my daughter stop. So I asked her what can I do? You let her do it to begin with, when I told her to stop. You Should have stopped it then.
OK, new daycare, I go to pick up my daughter, and she is hanging on one of the workers.
So I walk up and say, Elizabeth Jo, let go NOW. I then say to the lady DON'T let her do that, it will get worse. She looks at me like I am the WORSE mom ever and said "Awww, hugs are good." and then I go into the whole deal about the other teacher, and how it got started, and we dont let her give hugs anymore. And she gives me that blank look.
OK, so tonight I get the letter. *sigh*
I have been fighting this for a year. I tell people let her hug you once, or not at all, and noone listen to me.
I am at the end of this rope. I can some what control her at home, when I see it, but what I dont see, or know about, I can't do anything about.
Any suggestions will help.
right now i took all hugs away till she learns to hug nice, and only once, not 30'x in an hour.
Oh yea she is 5 yrs old.
Thank you

What can I do next?

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

So What Happened?

Thank you, for all the responses.
I did talk to one of the ladies, at the daycare, Liz was not the only one to get in trouble, in fact she didn't even start it! I love getting half the story! There is one girl from her old daycare, she IS the aggressor, she tends to be mean.
I talked to my daughter, this morning about if she comes to hug you put your hands behind your back, and tell her no. she said " but mom, she pulls my hands out and makes me hug her." *SIGH* come to find out this other girl does it to her everyday, they are just starting to get upset with it! I got a note from her teacher today thanking me for talking to Liz, and that she had a great day.
but from the sounds of it the other mom is not talking to her daughter, because Liz told me that the other ran up to her to hug her, and she put her hand out in the stop sign, and put the other one behind her back. and the other girl still tried to pull her hand out. My daughter is not lacking in attention! lol she just takes it to the next level sometimes!
Thank you again

Featured Answers



answers from Detroit on

I am glad you were able to find some resolve in this issue. It is a bit tricky sometimes especially when they are in daycare. I am a family childcare provider and I love all my children very much. I give hugs and even have some who give kisses. But I have had them since infants. I really think it depends on the children and parents. In my care if Children want a hug they are taught to ask the person. If the person says no then that is ok. That sometimes people don't like hugs all the time and they need to respect that. If I feel it is excessive I ask them to stop. I believe that my kids are with me so much I want them to feel loved and hugging is part of that. They all are very good at knowing their limits and if not I teach them.

More Answers



answers from Columbus on

Hi J.,

I know you have a real problem, but just reading it, it is one of the funniest, sweetest problems I have read. All I can offer is try a few books about hugging and kissing. My kids have a book about a little monkey called “no more kissing”. The little monkey does not like to be kissed. Maybe you can use some books like this to help her understand how not everyone likes the hugs as much as she does. By age 5 she should be able to understand and care about how others feel, so maybe this will help. Sorry I can’t offer any more suggestions.



answers from Detroit on


I have two comments. First, I have a 2 1/2 year old who is very possessive of his personal space. The other kids at the daycare touch him and hug him and he doesn't like it. The other kids are not over- touching, they are normal kids, he just doesn't like it, unless it is Mom, Dad, etc. So I can understand the problems it can cause.

On the other hand, maybe she just needs more attention and it is a way of getting it. Are the teachers attentive? Are you physical with her at home? Maybe if you tell her hugs are for mommies she will understand that? I would also suggest encouraging her to use her words, i.e. I like you, You're nice, etc instead of hugs.

Good luck.



answers from Lansing on

try telling her that the only people she is allowed to hug are family that we just say good bye to our friends and teachers and leave it at that .then there never that line anymore



answers from Detroit on

Hi J.,
We had this same problem but i diffrent situation. My daughter was adopted at 4 from Ukraine. She was taught to give hugs to everyone who came to see her so she would be adopted! We would stop briefly to ask a stranger the time and she was holding out her arms and wanting to hug them! We finally told her she could only hug family but she had to ask permission first (she didn't understand the family unit and who was family and who wasn't). We eventually added close friends and teachers. She is in 3rd grade now and still hugs the other kids more than I would like but it's alot better. She also is very rough and sometimes hurts the other kids. Now at this age I let the other kids do the talking by getting irritated and telling her to stop. We still have to remind her before we go somewhere that she is or is not allowed to hug people depending on where we are going and to only give ONE hug and ONE goodbye. I don't know if this helped at all. The only thing we did was make her ask permission first and it took awhile but she eventually did it. This all started at 4 years old with her and by 6 she was finally remembering to ask all the time! Up until then I just did what you did by taking her arm and saying yes or no to the hug. I got funny and disapproving looks from people also but I just didn't offer an explaination and when I did, I just said "Please don't be offended, we have an over affection problem we are trying to work on".
Good Luck!



answers from Lansing on

I dont see why any of the day cares allowed this to happen. My son goes to head start and they dont let any of the kids evan hold hands, which i dont mind the hold hands, but they say because of the spread of germs. maybe the daycare should realize by kids hugging other kids they can EASILY get head lice. maybe they should of made this a rule at the begining. I understand that your the mom and your spost to solve this problem, but they let it go tooo long and she wont understand why she cant hug her friends anymore. If you try to get her out of it, she might take it wrong and never hug someone again . so im kinda clueless



answers from Cincinnati on

How sweet she is so affectionate, but I agree it's a problem.
However, it's not only your problem. You are doing your work with her at home. It is up to the workers to continue your plans at daycare. Like pp stated, speak with the director & keep it consistent.

My son hates to be hugged. He would freak completely out if a 5 year old hugged him. He just likes his space. Daddy & I are the only people he hugs. I don't like to be hugged either, so maybe he got it from me :)
I just moved here from Dallas. In the south everyone hugs. It was horrible :)




answers from Cleveland on

What is this world coming to? It just seems fundamentally wrong to reprimand a child for hugging too much. It saddens me to think of the message her teachers are sending by rejecting her affection. That just doesn't seem to be the right approach. In fact, I'm guessing it will have the opposite effect -- she'll keep trying until someone returns her affection the way she wants/needs them to.

If she's truly hugging so hard that she's hurting people, that's obviously a problem. At 5 she should be old enough to understand the limits. Does she have any other social problems?

You said you're a single mom. Is your daughter's father in her life? Maybe she's being overly affectionate to fill some sort of void. (I'm also a single mom. My ex-husband is not involved with our girls, so I'm always on the lookout for those kinds of warning signs.) Has she ever seen a child psychologist/counselor? I took my oldest when she was 6 because I was worried about the effects of an absentee dad. As it turns out, she is adjusting just fine, but I'm really glad we went. There is nothing like the peace of mind of a professional, objective opinion.



answers from Cleveland on

Hey J.. First off let me say that i understand what you are going through, i understand what teh childcare providers are going through too though. I have 5 kids, 3 of my own and 2 step children the oldest being 7 and i provide childcare out of my home so that i may stay home with the kids. i find myself daily in a difficult position because my kids are very affectionate also. they hang on me and want to hug everyone, even the other children's parents goodbye. for some kids they are like hey don't hug me and then my kids are hurt and for others they see my kids hanging on me and want to also, and then mine are jealous and you get the picture. First off the real issue here is the fact that your daughter's hugs are a little to aggressive and that should be addressed. give her a toy and demonstrate how to give a nice hug. affection is a good thing but there are limits and she doesn't need to hug or hang on everyone, you are right. the children i baby sit for are very affectionate with me, i'll get a hug good-bye and they will sit next to me when we read a book or play a game and crawl up on my lap when they have a boo boo or someone hurts their feelings and need a hug but that's it, i love them all and they are an extended part of my family but they are not my kids and they don't need to hang on me. if i had my kids in a daycare where i came to pick them up and they were constantly on someone's lap or being carried around or whatever every day i'm sorry but i'd start to wonder why the teachers were letting it go on and what was up. as for the daycare i'd talk to whomever is in charge and be very firm that you find such things inappropriate and it needs to stop or you'll remove your daughter. i'm not saying anything that shouldn't be going on is going on but it's obviously not appropriate in regards to your daughter if it causes problematic behavior. also jennifer might have a point, maybe she's clingy for a reason, not to say that it is your fault or it is anything you've done cause trust me i did the single mom thing and sometimes it is just the best thing you can do, but my step daughter sees a counselor and it is wonderful. so hang in there obviously you are as involved in her life as you can be, she needs to eat as much as she needs you there, and you care enough to want to fix the problem or you wouldn't have posted, so just stick with what you think is right. as a parent i agree with you and as a childcare provider i find the reaction of the teacher you mentioned absolutley terrible. good luck and take care. K.



answers from Lansing on

Hi J.,
Have you talked to your daughter about things she likes or doesn't like kids/adults to do to her? She is so innocent and may not understand it is bothersome to people. You could try talking to her and try setting a one hug limit and reinforce that with praise and/or rewards in the beginning such as, "I liked that you only hugged your teacher once today, or "I like that you are following the rules." You could even create a chart and put stickers on the days of the week she does well and offer her a small (nominal or no cost) reward for good hugging.

As for that daycare teacher, I would immediately talk to the daycare manager and explain your rules and why the staff in your daughter's class need to follow them. Daycare providers would follow other kids' behavior plans and this is no different. I hope this helps!-Kim



answers from Dayton on

I've often had the same problems with both of my children. They were adopted 5 years ago (together - they are full siblings) out of a VERY abusive situation. Because of their natural family issues, they had almost no personal space or knowledge of how to appropriately show affection. We have a rule now in our home that hugs are okay, but only 1 and then walk away. Kisses are for family members only. NO kissing of people outside our family. It's gotten to the point where I've (in the past - it's better now) had to punish (not harshly, but enough to get their attention) when this rule is violated. We were told by our adoption agency that this behavior IS serious and needs to be nipped in the bud ASAP and not laughed off or minimized. And if other people don't understand, I usually just let them think I'm a bad mother. Until they have walked a mile in my shoes and heard the horror stories of how my children were treated in their bio home then my opinion is, they have NOTHING to say. So you do what you think is right for your daughter and stand your ground. And if the daycare staff doesn't understand, MAKE them understand. Have a meeting with the director and tell them that this is non-negotiable and the rules about hugging you have set forth can not be broken.

Good Luck!!



answers from Saginaw on

My 5 year old son just started school- at open house- he attempted to hug the teacher, and the teacher backed away- I was SO shocked- that someone would dis my poor boy like that- after all it was just a hug for pete's sake! I know teachers have rules and whatnot- anyway in retrospect I should have taken the que from the teachers and right then started the personal space discussions...

First day of school rolled around, guess what my son got in trouble for? You guessed it, wouldnt keep hands to himself- in speaking with teacher I found he was trying to hug- hold hands etc with other kids and the teacher... That is when I went holy cow this apparently HAS to be fixed, I dont want my son in trouble constantly... Never would I have dreamed hugs were bad, hand holding etc... Sounds naive in this day and age I suppose... *sigh*

What I did was I got some string, I put it around myself with me in the center- had it out about a foot around me- and started the personal space discussion.. I think the string helped since it was a visual to him... So far no more notes from home!! Good luck!



answers from Detroit on

J. C
You need to stop that. The only people she needs to hug is family. I'm not trying to be mean but this is a crazy world we live in. People will take advantange of her. Men and women. I'm a single mom of a five year old girl too. And I work in a doctors office. I see a lot. Maybe she wants affection from you and she acts it out with others. I'm not saying its that. I'm sure you are a very good mother. I wish we had a book on how to raise our kids but we don't. I just think that the world is mess up.

Next question: Overly Affectionate 6 Year Old