Father-Daughter Relationships: Should fathers stop hugging their daughters once they hit puberty?

Answer :-

Opinion 1:-

Update: It should be noted that the question as asked is about fathers not hugging their daughters after puberty out of fear of how it might be perceived when it is, simply, a gesture symbolizing their love and/or support. As such I do not mention or allude to men who are sexually innapropriate towards their daughters in my answer because it's not within the scope of the question asked. The theoretical fathers in this question are worried because of the pall cast by the behavior of that group of men, not because they are one of those men.



No. No. No. No. And No. Story time, kids. (Sorry, dad, I'm about to tell a story without your consent. I think you'll be OK with it.)
Growing up my dad was distant. He was in the National Guard and frequently away from home. He also had a tendency to not be home a lot even when he wasn't away. And he was an alcoholic. A functioning alcoholic, yes, but an alcoholic. And being a functioning alcoholic meant getting in your drinking in the evening.
And he wasn't very affectionate. He was awkward in that regard and drinking didn't help. Don't get me wrong, my dad was a hero in other regards. He'd do anything to help someone and would give them the shirt off his back without their having to ask. But hugs and kisses were absent. And that hurt.
Fast forward a bit and he's out of the Guard and home regularly. He still drinks, but he's softened a lot and is at least verbally affectionate (says "I love you" more easily). Soon enough mom and dad are divorced and that's a whole 'nother monkey wrench in the happy family dynamic.
Fast forward again a couple of years. My dad gets a wake up call (aka a DUI), gets his shit together, quits drinking and is almost instantly a changed man. He's still the 'do anything to help anyone' guy, but he's also more 'present'. And one of the first things he realizes is that he's neglected us emotionally.
My dad became a hugger and kisser and yes I'm crying now at the thought of it... You didn't say goodnight without a hug and a kiss on the cheek any more. When you did something, you got a big hug and an 'I'm proud of you'.  And no phone call for the past 15+ years has ended without 'I love you'.
Hug your kids. Kiss your kids. Let them know how you feel about them. Share your love for them in ways they can feel and be sure of. Every hug from my dad now is precious to me. We go out of our way to do it because, even all this time, we have a lot of making up to do.

Opinion 2:-

You should generally respect the bodily autonomy of EVERYONE. And you should teach your children that their bodies are their own and nobody gets to demand access to it without their consent; not even parents.

In other words, if your children don't want to be hugged; you should respect this wish. No matter if you're the mother or the father, and no matter if it's a son or a daughter you're talking about.  

But this question is tendentious. It does not ask if parents should stop hugging children.

It asks if fathers should stop hugging daughters. And there's no reasonable justification for treating that combination any differently from any other parent-hugging-child situation.

Suggesting that this should stop; while saying that it'd be OK for the father to continue to hug sons, and for the mother to continue to hug all children pushes the tired prejudice that all physical contact between men and women are necessarily sexual in nature, and thus inappropriate - and of course in this view sexuality is something that only men possess and thus it's inappropriate if a father hugs his daughter, but not inappropriate for a mother to hug a son.

This view is offensive to me. There is nothing sexual about a hug in general. In particular, there is nothing sexual about a hug between parents and children. 

Some people are very huggy and like to both give and receive a lot of hugs. Other people seldom give hugs. Both of these choices are fine, I don't see any reason to assume either of these are problematic.

But arbitrarily limiting hugs by gender out of some misguided belief that hugs between parents and children are sexual in nature  is wrong.


Opinion 3:-

I want to remind all the angry parents that there're other culture in the world in which people don't regularly hug each other, and that didn't lead to social decay and total chaos. So maybe we should all calm down and be reasonable with your "general blanket cover all" angry protest against "no hugging". 

Hugging is a very very very... western custom. It took me a while to get used to people hugging each other when I first came to the US. Parents hugging their adult children, friends hugging each other, for a regular Chinese, that's just weird and totally inappropriate. I don't remember my dad ever hug me, or my mom, or my grandma. This is true for most Chinese children. That doesn't mean Chinese parents don't love their children, it's just different culture, and different way to raise kids. It's not like we all grow up to be emotionally impaired psychopath due to lack of childhood intimacy. 

I personally don't think hugging or any kind of intimacy is an absolute necessity for children to feel their parents' love. When you are little, sure, little holding and hugging would be nice. I think that's because our simple undeveloped mind won't understand love and affection through other channel. But as we grow older, there're other ways to show affection and support, through words or gesture, and physical contact is just plain weird. 

I don't think there's universal rule on how you should raise your children. I haven't hug my dad since I was 10 years old (maybe even younger than that), and we're the best friends, I know I can come to him if I need help or just talk about stuff. And we have this loving and supportive father/daughter relationship without ever hugging each other.

Update: Stephanie Vardavas reminded me that the question is about if a hugging dad should stop hugging his daughter when she's in puberty. And my answer is still: it depends. It depends on the culture, and the family. 

This remind me of something I thought I forgot: when I was little, I often got up in the morning and sneak into my dad's bed and snuggle with him. It didn't happen very often since he rarely stay over at my grandma's house (I was living with my grandma and my dad has his own apartment, it's complicated). As a little kid of 4 or 5 years old, I really enjoy those moments. 

After I start elementary school at 6, my dad would refuse to let me climb in. He said: you're a big girl now, going to school and everything, you shouldn't sleep in daddy's bed anymore. I wasn't happy, but I was over it very soon. Because my dad had show his affection through other channel, listen to me, talk to me, play with me, buy toys and clothing... Well, he's not the typical dad, and we definitely had our rough patches as father and daughter, but I think this demonstrate my point. Physical intimacy is not a necessity for a child to grow up healthy and happy. It's all depends on how you deal with the situation, what you and your children are comfortable with, and what the social expectation is. For Americans, hugging might be acceptable, but for Chinese, father hugging a high school daughter in public is weird, other kids might end up laughing or pointing fingers at her, so probably not a good idea.


Opinion 4:-

Speaking objectively, the general answer is entirely subjective. Whether or not hugging "should" occur depends on the father, the daughter, and the relationship between them. There are some fathers who perhaps ought to hug their daughters (and sons, for that matter) more and there are some who should, indeed, stop.

With that said, I know of no sound developmental principle or social reason – independent of the individuals involved – that a father ought to stop hugging his daughter for its own sake. Psychologically, parental relationships serve as models for future intimate relationships so a withdrawal of affection actually can be very counterproductive (provided that parent and child have had a healthy relationship up to that point). It will shape what they look for in romantic partners, where a lack of affection is generally seen as unhealthy.


Speaking personally, I will absolutely respect my daughter's boundaries on such things pre-, during, and post- puberty (since I want to model that she should expect the men in her life – whether she's straight or gay –  to do likewise), but if she declared a permanent "no hug" rule that lasted more than a few days, then I would be sad....and worried.


Opinion 5:-

How is this even brought into question? 

Daughters may well push their parents away more readily when going through puberty. That's natural. Hugs are embarrassing. Showing that you need your parents (or indeed anybody else) is surely a sign than you are not maturing as quickly or effectively as your peers. 

Dads may wish to rethink where an when so as not to cause embarrassment or upset or (worse) wrath but the hugging should never stop. 

Sadly for some it never started. 

People appear to be frightened to lavish their children - and children in general - with love. Parents say to me frequently that they do not want to "spoil" their child. That's why they left them to cry as a baby. That's why they don't hug them or tell them they mean the world to them. 

Oh, and that's why they have an X-Box. And a flat screen in their bedroom. And designer clothes. 

But at least they haven't been spoiled. 

DADS: hug them. They need you more when they're going through adolescence than they ever have before. They need (and this is vital) to know that they can have save and non-sexualised physical contact with males. They need to feel safe, and they need their dads. 

Like Nike say...


Opinion 6:-

Absolutely not. If for no other reason than fathers should teach their daughters how they deserve to be touched by men: that is, with love and affection. 

There is nothing sexual about a parent showing love and affection to a child, whether father or mother, daughter or son. Age doesn't matter. Anyone who puts that unnecessary social stigma onto physical affection is just creating a problem, not solving one.


Opinion 7:-

I understand some cultures don't do hugging. This question obviously does not pertain to them.

I understand some people/ families aren't huggers. This question obviously does not pertain to them.

This question is asking whether or not fathers that do hug their daughters should stop hugging after puberty.

Here's my problem: This question suggests that once a daughter reaches puberty, a father's hugs somehow become sexual in nature. There is no other reason I can think of that this question would be asked.

Now, I don't have a daughter, I have a son, but I do have nieces, and I love them with all of my heart and I hug them when I see them, even the ones beyond puberty. For someone to suggest that these hugs are in any way sexual is beyond offensive to me.

No, fathers should not stop hugging their daughters because of puberty. That's just... 


Opinion 8:-

Not as a fixed matter of principle.    A great deal depends on a) your daughter, and b) the context.    For example ...

a)   Some teenagers might shy away from hugging their parents as they begin to assert their age or emotional independence.    Yet even these teenagers might hug their parents if the teens were very stressed and in need of comfort--or if the parents were.    

b)   A hug that might seem perfectly fine to a teenager at the doorstep of your home might embarrass that same teenager to death if administered on school grounds in front of a whole lot of schoolmates.   

c)   There are situations, like some weddings, some funerals, and certain kinds of church services, where hugging neighbors and family members is part of the ritual.   

I don't see the relevance of the parents' or teenager's gender here.   It's understandable if you suspect that a hug might be physically invasive.   Hugging co-workers can invite charges of sexual harassment!    But your teenage children know you better than your co-workers do, and they can (or should be taught to) tell the difference between innocent family hugs--such as the ones you most likely deliver--and a hug that they should report to you and the proper authorities.   

My advice?   Stop worrying about the gender issue and find out whether or not your daughter is okay with hugs from Dad, and if so, under what circumstances.    IMO, teens are old enough to decide whether to hug or not to hug.

source:-quora.com