Whenever my dad gives me a hug, I always feel uncomfortable. I know I shouldn’t cuz he’s my dad, but after reading about people getting molested by their parents and stuff like that, it kind of freaks me out. How can I get over it?
It’s not uncommon to have ambivalent feelings about physical contact with your parents when you’re a teenager or at any point in your life, and it’s easy to see how reports of child molestation might intensify your discomfort.Thinking more about why you are getting “freaked out” is most likely the best way to “get over” these feelings. Did you always feel uncomfortable with hugging your dad or is this a totally new thing? Is your dad hugging you more or in a different way?
If his behavior hasn’t changed, it may be you who’s changing. If your body is developing (and you are becoming more aware of being a sexual person), it’s not unusual to become extremely self-conscious about it and hypersensitive to any attention you may receive. This can also be a weird time for parents, who may feel uncertain about how to deal with the fact that their little girl is in the process of changing into a woman…
If you think it may help to create new boundaries to go with your changing body, it might be hard to talk about it with your father. Adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Frederyka Shabry suggests communicating in a gentle, non-accusatory way, as in “Dad, I’m not really into hugging so much anymore” or “This is too embarrassing for me” or anything else that you feel ok saying. Hopefully, he will start to realize the changes taking place in your life and develop a more comfortable way of relating to you.
On the other hand, if you do you feel that your father’s behavior is crossing the line–if he’s making sexual comments or using his hugs as an excuse to touch you in inappropriate ways, for example–please let your mother or a trusted adult know as soon as possible. You might feel guilty for exposing your father in this way, but if he really is being sexually inappropriate toward you, he needs help.
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