… when the child says, “I don’t want a hug!”
Because I had read this advice before I had teenagers, I did hug young Gunny when he was a teen, even the times when he was angry with me and stood stiff as a board while I hugged him — giving me absolutely no sign that he appreciated or wanted a hug right then. But, because I had heard this advice, I did it anyway, and he’s told me since that he’s glad I “insisted” on giving him those hugs.
When Hubby and his two younger brothers, who are very close in age, were pre-teens, they told their mom that they were “too big” now for all the kissing and hugging she liked to give. So, she respected their wishes and cut way back on those signs of affection that especially teenage boys seem to be embarrassed about. But, Hubby has told me that there were times when he wished he hadn’t said that!
I never had to worry about DD doing without the hugs she needed. Even when she was a teenager and as tall as me, she would come and plop down on my lap, wrap her arms around my neck, and say, “I need some hugs!”.
So, I suggest that if there is one of your children who doesn’t ever say “I need some hugs” or even resists affection, you make sure that that child gets their share of your kisses and hugs anyway.
There is “magic” in loving physical contact that defies description, except to say that it is just a “gift from God”.