I was flipping through the radio channels yesterday while running an errand when I got some good advice...I don't even know who said it (apologies if it was YOU!)
When your child or spouse hugs you, don't let go of them until they let go of you first...the person initiating the hug should be the one to decide how long it lasts. When your child, for example, comes up to you, reaches out, and hugs you and you give them a little hug, then let go, that says, "Ok, I hugged you. Are we done yet?"
Ouch. That hit me, because I have a daughter who loves to walk up and hug me, and who I always give a squeeze to, and then let go...and it made me realize that I may be communicating to her (inadvertently) that I don't want to be bothered with hugs. Literally I could be mopping a floor, or covered in garden gunk, and she will still want to hug...and maybe this isn't quite something I am in tune with as physical touch and closeness is my least strong love language. I'm more of an acts of service sort of person, and when I am trying to serve someone (make dinner for example, or mop the floor), I find a hug annoying...it's taken 16 years of marriage and 15 years of parenthood to try to overcome that, and realize even if it's not something that does anything for me, if it's important to someone else, I should also treat it as important.
so, I tried it. I didn't let go until after she did. The first time she held on for what seemed like forever, and then she let go, looking up at me just beaming from ear to ear. :-) She's given me about a dozen hugs today, and each time, I have waited until she let go, and each time she is the happiest little girl in the world...