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Is It Ok that My Father Asks Me for a Hug When No One’s Around?

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I’m from India, aged 23. My father is a good man. He has never done any such thing to me, but I still don’t understand, is it ok if he asks me for a hug (and ya, “at times”, a tight hug)? I mean just a simple hug is ok, but I don’t know why, he asks me for a hug generally when no one is around. I am not ok with it. I try to ignore it at times, or try giving a side hug … sometimes I feel a bit uncomfortable and sometimes I feel I am over thinking upon this. This happens approx. once a week. He doesn’t do any other things such, so I feel it’s me who is at fault to think such upon it. But still I don’t know. I haven’t talked about this to anyone with the fear they would have a wrong impression about my dad if I do so. Neither to mom nor to friends (besties), maybe because once my mother said me to tell her if anything uncomfortable to me happens, I mean between me and my dad (that might be because of my mom’s anger because of an issue between my parents) that makes me think upon this in this manner. And even once one of my relative (female) notified, that now you are grown up and should stop being that close to your dad, she meant because of the fun me and my dad were having, like biting each other… That was all normal to me until she said me so. And she also wasn’t completely wrong; I should have actually stopped that.

Well, I don’t know if these both things have made me think upon it in this manner. Please help. And if so, what should be done. He at times comes to know that I hug him just for his sake, and has even asked me if I don’t like it. I at times frown at this. And he has come to know about it. At times, it even feels like I’m doubting on him with no reasons. Guide me to the correct path, please. Thanking you in advance. (From India)

Is It Ok that My Father Asks Me for a Hug When No One’s Around?

Answered by on -


Just because your Dad asks you doesn’t mean you have to say yes. What is important is to recognize you are empowered to have a boundary. Your concern is enough. The work here is not for you to worry so much about what his motives are, but rather to find ways to say no. I would be clear with him when he asks. Phrases like “Not right now,” “I’m uncomfortable with that,” or simply “No thank you,” is enough since your dad is asking and realizes it may not be the right thing. He needs feedback from you that it is not ok.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Is It Ok that My Father Asks Me for a Hug When No One’s Around?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Is It Ok that My Father Asks Me for a Hug When No One’s Around?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 3, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 30 Nov 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.