My Children Refuse My Hug When They’re Angry

If your children don’t want to be hugged when they're angry, it can feel as if you're being rejected. Here's what you can do about it.
My Children Refuse My Hug When They’re Angry
María José Roldán

Written and verified by the psychopedagogue María José Roldán.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

It’s natural that when your children throw tantrums you want to hug and comfort them, but if they’re very angry, they’re likely to refuse your hug. Don’t take it personally. It’s imperative you understand why this is happening and what to do about it.

Hugging is the most human gesture we have and always calms the most intense emotional states. In fact, a sincere hug can speak more than a thousand words. A hug comforts us and makes us feel better because we closely connect with the person who offers us affection through a hug.

It’s important to hug our children when they’re sad or angry. But it’s also important to know what to do when they reject us. Therefore, don’t miss what we’re about to tell you, it’s very useful!

Girl very angry with her mother, she doesn't want to give her a hug.

My children refuse my hug when they’re very angry

It’s possible that your children have too much frustration accumulated after misbehaving. Hugging them will show them that you love them, that you respect their emotions, and that, above all, you want to help them feel better.

Even if they reject your hug, you should never get angry or turn your back on them. Don’t ignore their intense feelings because they’ll feel worse, think that you don’t care about them and that they should hide their emotions. This can hurt them emotionally and damage their trust in you.

If your children don’t want to hug you when they’re very angry, respect their wishes. Never force them to do so, no matter how much you want to. You’ll be hurt by their rejection, of course. However, as an adult, you must learn to manage it in the best possible way.

Then you have to ask yourself what’s wrong with your little one to make him not want to receive the hug. Maybe he’s in a state of anger? Is he feeling too vulnerable? You’ll have to analyze the situation to find out why he doesn’t want this act of love and emotional comfort.

Why don’t they want to hug you?

Typically, children may refuse a hug from their parents due to a situation of high emotional stress, a conflict, or a tense situation where the parents were also involved. It could also be the child feels shame and prefers to hide those emotions.

It could be that children want to show their independence from you and control their body and emotions. Or maybe they want to get your attention so that you listen to them because they need to feel in control emotionally.

In any case, if you see that the rejection towards you extends over time (not only when they’re very angry) and even extrapolates to other situations, it’s not something you should ignore. You’ll need some help from a professional who can guide you towards an emotional rapprochement that’s necessary for both parties.

Even if your children refuse your hug, you can still be there for them

How do you stand by them if they’re rejecting you? The most important thing is that you respect your children at that moment, and they feel that you respect them above all else, despite your desire to give them that comforting hug.

But they don’t have to feel emotional abandonment at any moment. You must be aware that, even though they’re rejecting you, it’s a very vulnerable moment for your children. They need your affection more than ever, even if it’s not through a hug.

In order for them to see that you love and respect them, you can show this in different ways:

Child resenting his father because he’s very angry.
  • Sit beside them patiently, respecting their wishes and in silence, if necessary.
  • If you think it’s better, you can talk calmly and validate their emotions.
  • Do it in the most empathetic and understanding way possible.
  • Don’t tell them not to cry if they want to cry.
  • If they don’t want hugs, they may accept you stroking their hands or face, or stroking their hair.

Respectful attitude

The most important thing is to display a respectful and understanding attitude in the situation and towards your child’s feelings. Never take it personally and never blackmail them to be alright in order to calm your own discomfort. Allow them to feel their emotions and be their guide to getting better.

You’re their reference point and their guide. If you’ve ever rejected a hug from them, then don’t be shocked if they reject you. No matter what happens or the conflict you experience, never, under any circumstances, refuse a hug, a token of affection, or regret from your children.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Tirado Torrás, M. (2020) Rabietas: Consejos y herramientas para lidiar con ellas con conciencia, humor y amor. Editorial: Urano.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.