What’s better than a hug from mom?
Nothing. But, according to one study, a phone call is just as good. In the study, a group of children were put in a stressful situation and then allowed to be physically comforted by their mother, verbally comforted by her, or neither. Interestingly, the children who were only able to call their mom still experienced the same rise in oxytocin levels (which helped lower stress levels) as the children who were able to have physical contact with her. (The third group showed no rise in oxytocin levels.) What’s more, the calming effects lingered long after the conversation was over. It’s kind of comforting to know a hug from mom is just a phone call away.
You may not want to hug your child when they’re throwing a tantrum, but it may be just what they need. No, you’re not rewarding bad behavior. You’re actually helping them calm down. Hugging triggers the release of oxytocin, the feel good hormone that helps reduce stress. Remember, kids don’t throw tantrums simply because they’re stubborn. They do it because they can’t self-regulate their emotions. Once everyone’s calm, you can address the problem.