Ask Kari: How can I get my teenage daughter to be affectionate with me?

Dear Kari,

I have a teenage daughter that is a sweet child, but she refuses to be affectionate with me.  When I try and give her a hug or kiss she turns away. I feel that I am not asking for much, I am her mom who just wants to connect and bond with her. I grew up in a house where my parents kissed and hugged us regularly; how can I get my daughter to warm up to my desire to be close with her?

Rejected Mom

Dear Rejected Mom,

It sounds like you are a loving mother who is looking for appropriate closeness with your daughter. Your request of a daily hug or kiss is reasonable and probably needed by both you and your daughter. I recommend that you speak to your daughter in a genuine manner and tell her about how you grew up being kissed and cared for each day, and how it helped you feel safe. Tell her that you are trying to replicate the same goodness that you had with your parents today with her. Ask her to pick times in her day when she is most comfortable receiving affection from you and follow her lead.  Hopefully, soon she will learn that human affection is a good thing.


As published in the May 2015 issue of Connections.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

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