DR. WALLACE: I'm a 15-year-old girl and my little brother is a cute kid who is now 8. We both live with our mother. Our father does not live with us because my parents divorced a year ago. In fact, our father returned to the state he was born in after the divorce. This means he is now over 2,000 miles away, so I won't be seeing him any time in the near future.
I really miss my father, but there is nothing I can do to see him. He seems to always be working late hours at his job, so I can't even call him on the phone more than about once a month.
So, now I only have my mom, and I love her very much, but I do have one small problem I wish I could overcome with her. My mother does not show any affection at all toward me. She hugs my little brother and tells him how good he is and how much she loves him. But she never, ever does this with me! This makes me feel like she doesn't love me and like I'm not even part of the family. Don't get me wrong; I love my mother very much and would really like it if she would tell me that she loves me too, even once in a while. However, I feel it's important to point out to you that I don't feel mistreated. My mom is a great cook, she works hard at her job to keep a roof over our head and she even helps me with my homework when I need it. She's basically a great mom; I just wish I could get a few hugs from her.
These days I just feel left out. What can I do to get mom to treat me the same way as she treats my brother, especially when it comes to her demonstrating a little physical affection? — No Recent Hugs, via email
NO RECENT HUGS: It's possible that your dear mother is not aware that you feel neglected to the degree you do. Of course, now that your letter has been printed and answered in this column, you could show it to her to give her a hint about how you feel. But simply approaching her in this manner may make her feel uncomfortable, or worse, feel scolded.
I trust that if she were to remain unaware of how you feel and then read your letter here, it would be a huge surprise to her.
I'm quite sure that she does love you dearly. Perhaps due to the gap in your ages (you're now becoming a young lady and your brother is still a little boy), she is reigning in the physical affection to give you your space.
My suggestion is to make the first move! One night after a nice dinner, go right up to your mom, thank her for the wonderful meal, and then give her a nice, big hug. Continue to do this a few times a week, and I trust she'll get the message. Once you break the ice, it should get easier for both of you, and she'll soon realize that you like hugging her and that you truly love and appreciate her.
In the end, a good hug is its own mutual reward. Both parties benefit, and once a warm embrace is in motion, it matters more how loving it feels than who initiated it. I trust your mother will soon begin to initiate some hugs with you, as well.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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