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Parent Enraged After Learning Nine-Year-Old Son’s Teacher Has Been Giving Him Hugs


A teacher’s gesture of affection towards a grade school student sparked a heated discussion about the appropriateness of student-teacher interaction.

Redditor abcd20000 is a parent, whose nine-year-old is exhibiting uncontrollable tantrums.

They became furious after discovering what the child’s teacher had been doing and accused her of “stunting” their son’s growth.

After a confrontation with her went south, they visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:

“AITA for getting angry at my son’s teacher for hugging my son?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My son is about 9 and a half years old. I used to hug him all the time, and whenever he was even slightly upset, he would come to me to soothe him.”

“He became so dependent on me, he had trouble controlling his own emotions, to the point he still had tantrums like a toddler (they haven’t fully stopped yet), so I started to wean him off hugs.”

“I recently found out that he had been getting hugs from his teacher. Not only is this really weird, but it’s literally stunting his emotional growth.”

“When I confronted her, she blew up and lectured me on how 9 year olds ‘need’ hugs. I think that’s complete bullsh*t.”

“I stopped being actively hugged at 6, and most 9 year olds don’t have the same emotional issues my son does.”

Strangers on the internet were asked to declare one of the following:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

Many Redditors saw nothing wrong with the OP’s son receiving hugs from his teacher.

“He’s 9. He’s still really young. Physical affection is IMPORTANT. Humans literally need it to be emotionally healthy. Even adults can be touch-starved.”

“I’m not surprised he has emotional issues if his own parent won’t hug or comfort him at the age of 9. YTA.” – Amblonyx

“Hugs at an elementary school from teachers is very normal. We had teachers who we loved and had fun with and our principals were great too. Everyone loved hugging their favorite teachers.”

“Also, if you didn’t want hugs, no one made you hug them. It made school a more positive place to be.” – Odd-Plant4779

“YTA. First off its really not weird. You deciding your shouldn’t hug your kid anymore IS weird.” – Fastr77

“Teacher here, and y’know what makes me sad about this story? If OP makes a stink about it, the teacher could easily end up getting in trouble, or at the very least be told to stop all further physical contact with students.”

“I hope it’s an experienced teacher who knows their stuff and doesn’t get intimidated by nonsense like this.” – BitiumRibbon

“YTA Hugs don’t stunt emotional growth, but deprivation of kindness and human contact absolutely will.”

“Where in earth did you get this idea?? Humans NEED hugs. Touch starvation is a real thing.” – DrDFox

“Actually, psychologists say that children really need hugs for good emotional health.” – Diznygurl

“YTA. Good lord, his emotional issues are not caused by hugs. This is horrific logic. Please consider family therapy.” – DormantDormaus

“All of this. PLEASE get therapy, OP. Hugging your child should come naturally, but obviously, it doesnt to you because you were cut off from affection at such a young age.”

“Just FYI that’s not normal or healthy. Happy kids know they are loved, and withholding affection is cruel and can have life long consequences, yourself being the case in point. YTA.”

“You’re lucky your son has an educator who actually cares about him and you really need to find some better sources for parenting tips. Please hug your child before he ends up like you.” – Mryessicahaircut

“You weaned him off hugs? Where did you get that stupid idea? YTA” – GlaxenFlux

“My mother was like OP and stopped hugging me or showing me any kind of affection altogether around this age (probably even younger, actually). It not only pained me and made me feel unloved, but really impaired my own ability to show affection.”

“I also tend to expect exaggerated amounts of physical demonstration of affectation from my partners, probably to offset what I didn’t have growing up, and/or as a constant search for reassurance.”

“But it’s never enough somehow, which inevitably leads to me feeling insecure and unloved again. Although I’m conscious of having some deep neurosis, I can’t seem to be able to get rid of it, so I had to decide to stop dating in order to stop suffering.”

“So yeah, OP YTA, and please hug your kid before they end up messed up like me.” – Skeptikaa

“YTA- I hugged my teacher daily at 9 (he reminded me of my dad). He mentioned it at conferences, and my parents were like you.”

“They told me it was weird and to stop. I still am embarrassed to give hugs to people. You are screwing your kid up.” – Suspicious_Ad9810

“YTA, hugging shouldn’t have an age limit. You may be emotionally stunting him by withholding comfort due to some unrealistic view of hugging restrictions.” – FairShame3

“I’m 21 in my senior year of college and I still crave hugs from my mom. I never got hugs from my dad growing up (besides when I was a single-digit child) and despite my parents still being happily married, my dad’s hugs aren’t the same as my mom’s.”

“She’s my saving grace and the only reason I didn’t kill myself when I was in high school.”

“YTA and I hope you find sympathy for YOUR child who just needs a hug to feel love because you obviously aren’t providing enough of it at home to the point that their teacher has to provide it.” – scorpionmeal

“YTA I am a grown ass man, and I still need hugs everyday, especially when I’m sad. Wtf?” – Svantish

“YTA, kids need hugs. Your child throwing tantrums isn’t directly linked to how many hugs he receives.” – sad-lyfe2001

“YTA. Please go and hug your child as much as he wants and needs now.”

“In just a few years he will become a teenager and the last thing he will want is to be hugged by you, so treasure these years in which he is actively looking for that level of comfort and affection from you.”

“Time flies, and very soon, you will be the one dreaming for a hug from your son.” – Tugpo

Many Redditors condemned the OP’s objection to hugs, and some even ventured in suggesting the OP might be in need of a little bit of an embrace.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo