man hugging lady from behind

Dads, here’s why you should hug your daughters

By Mical Imbukwa
Did you know that there’s power in dad hugs?

In various African cultures, dads aren’t just breadwinners but pillars of strength, wisdom, and guidance for their families. But how impactful are hugs from these paternal figures, especially regarding their teenage daughters? 

A recent social media survey sheds light on the mixed sentiments surrounding this question.

While many men attribute traditional African values as a hurdle to freely hugging their teenage daughters, a significant number recognize the importance of hugs as a tangible expression of love crucial for their daughters’ development.

A common consensus emerges among respondents: cultivating a close relationship with daughters from an early age is key. This, they argue, helps make gestures like hugs less awkward when adolescence hits.

Munira Hussein from Marsabit shares her story of growing up with a dad who was unafraid to show affection. 

‘Even now, he hugs and kisses me randomly at home,’ she says. Munira describes her father’s approach as non-intrusive, using a playful question like, ‘Who’s getting a kiss?’ when the family is together. 

Despite initial embarrassment in her younger years, Munira now cherishes these hugs in her adulthood, emphasizing the privilege of having an affectionate father.

Verah Omwocha started receiving hugs from her dad in high school, and she now finds immense value in these moments. She advocates for fathers to hug their teenage daughters, emphasizing the importance of respecting the daughters’ comfort levels.

Scholar Akinyi receives hugs regularly and enjoys a strong bond with her dad. She sees no issue with fathers expressing affection through hugs and understands some parents’ reservations.

In conclusion, the debate around fathers hugging their teenage daughters within the context of African cultural values is multifaceted. While some men acknowledge traditional barriers, many believe in the significance of such gestures for their daughters’ well-being.

The stories of Munira, Verah, and Scholar Akinyi highlight the positive impact of dad hugs, underscoring the importance of balancing cultural values with the evolving dynamics of parent-child relationships.

Dad, do you hug your daughter? Why or why not?

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