Hugs vs. Interrogations

The Epic Battle of Parenting Tactics (And Why Hugs Are Winning!)


8/15/20237 min read

grayscale photography of two people raising their hands
grayscale photography of two people raising their hands

I recently went through a challenging experience that left a strong impact on me. It happened when I was running late to pick up my eldest daughter from school.

As I anxiously waited, I soon realized that her class had already been dismissed, and a sense of worry crept in. With my youngest child in tow, I hurriedly began my search for her.

In the midst of the panic, my initial attempts to locate her at our doorstep proved futile. Filled with concern, I rushed back to the school only to be relieved to learn that one of her classmate's mothers had kindly taken her under her wing.

As they strolled home together, their laughter echoed, even though my daughter had initially thought I had forgotten about her.

However, I must admit that upon reuniting with my daughter, my emotions got the better of me. I confronted her with a frustrated "Where have you been?"

My anger was palpable, and I could see the fear in her eyes as a result. As we made our way home, she withdrew into silence, seemingly apprehensive about opening up to me.

Sitting quietly, she appeared almost expectant of some form of punishment, even though she seemed unsure about what she might have done wrong.

It took me a brief period to regain my composure, after which I approached her gently to inquire about the situation.

It was then that I learned she had gone to use the restroom, a simple and innocent explanation that I had initially overlooked amidst my swirling thoughts.

Reflecting on this incident, I realized that I had let my imagination run wild, jumping to conclusions about various hypothetical scenarios. I had assumed the worst, envisioning her wandering alone or with a friend when she couldn't find me.

Looking back, I recognize that I might not have given her the benefit of doubt she deserved.

Freeing Ourselves from the Chains of Past Assumptions

person holding silver chain link
person holding silver chain link

You know, after really thinking things over, I've come to see how important it is to trust my daughter more.

Looking back, it's pretty clear that assuming she'd leave the school if she didn't see me right away was a bit off. I mean, that idea was kind of colored by those times when she was younger and might have wandered off on her own.

But the more I think about it, there have been instances that show she's got a lot of patience and reliability. Like that time she waited for almost an hour during her gymnastics class because of all those trainer mix-ups. It's like I should have had more faith in her responsible side.

You know, it's a lesson learned – depending too much on past experiences to predict how someone will react isn't the best approach. It's funny, even with my wife, I catch myself making assumptions about her choices based on what she's done before.

Anyway, I'm starting to see that by not letting those past assumptions dictate our judgments, we can really understand people better and give them a chance to show their true selves.

Bridge Communication Gaps and Embrace Constructive Measures

What this whole experience has really brought to light is how important it is for us to communicate better.

We'd never really talked about what to do in situations like this or even whether she should ask for help if she needed to use the restroom at school.

The lack of clear communication definitely added to the confusion during the incident.

Now that I see the impact this can have, I can't help but think about how things might've gone differently if we'd just had a clear plan in place.

Imagine if we'd decided that she should stay put at school until I showed up – that could have stopped this whole mix-up before it even happened.

It's like how we came up with those steps for her in case she got lost in crowded places. You know, stay where she is and wait for me, memorize my number, and give it to a trustworthy adult if she needs help, instead of wandering around.

Kids really need straightforward instructions to keep things clear and feel more confident. I'm thinking we should regularly chat with her about different scenarios or even do some role-playing to help her react better.

I've come to realize that handling stressful situations isn't something we're just born with. It's more about how much experience we've had dealing with similar things. The more familiar, the less intense the stress.

So, this whole thing has really driven home the importance of talking things out beforehand and setting clear expectations. It's the best way to avoid misunderstandings and keep things smooth.

Choosing a Hug Over Interrogation

woman hugging boy on her lap
woman hugging boy on her lap

Looking back, I can totally see how taking a different approach would have been a game-changer in that tough situation.

Instead of letting frustration call the shots, I've come to realize that responding with understanding and empathy would've been so much better.

What I should've done is give her a big, reassuring hug, making sure she wasn't hurt.

Showing her that I'm super concerned about her safety. Oh, and thanking her classmate's mom for going out of her way to bring her to us – that would've been great too.

After all the hugs and making sure she's okay, I could've gently asked about where she'd been and what happened, without pointing fingers. It would've helped me get the whole picture without making her feel blamed.

No matter what's going on, it's really important for kids to know they've got a solid foundation of love and support. They shouldn't feel like they're being judged or scared.

They need to feel like we're right there beside them, ready to guide and care for them no matter what. Our love should be like a rock, unwavering and totally unconditional.

Instead of jumping straight into questions, I should've started with giving her some comfort.

The questions can come later, but only after I'm sure she's feeling safe and good. Real love isn't about being tough and harsh – that's just a cover for controlling someone. It's built on trust and really getting where the other person is coming from.

So, from here on out, I'm all about better communication and setting things straight.

Making sure she knows what to do if I'm running late, or if she needs to use the bathroom. And, of course, keeping in mind that patience, understanding, and a big dose of empathy are the way to go in these situations.

Moving Forward with Better Approaches

So, thinking about what I can do next time, I've got a few ideas brewing. Instead of going into the same old reactions, here's what I'm planning to do differently:

  1. The Power of Hugs: First off, hugging is my new go-to move. If something goes down, I'll start with a big, reassuring hug. That physical connection can really set the tone for a caring conversation.

  2. Check-In: Before anything else, I'll make sure she's okay physically. That's my priority. No matter what happened, knowing she's safe is the most important thing.

  3. Show Gratitude: If someone else stepped in to help, like her classmate's mom did, I'll definitely make sure to show some appreciation. It's a small gesture that goes a long way.

  4. Open-Hearted Conversations: Once we're all calm and comfy, I'll ask her about what went down. But here's the key: I won't put the blame on her. I'll just want to understand what happened.

  5. Love First: Keeping in mind that love and support are the foundation, I'll make sure she knows that my main concern is her well-being, not pointing fingers.

  6. Clear Communication: Moving forward, we're going to have some serious talks about what to do in different situations. Like, what's the plan if I'm late or if she needs to use the restroom? Clear instructions can avoid misunderstandings.

  7. Practice Scenarios: We might even do some role-playing, acting out different situations. It might sound a bit funny, but it can really help her know what to do in tricky situations.

  8. Patience and Understanding: No matter what comes up, I'm committing to keeping my cool. Being patient and understanding will be my mantra.

  9. Empower Her: Encourage her to share her perspective before you ask any questions. Letting her express herself without interruption can help her feel more comfortable and understood.

  10. Explore Solutions Together: After hearing her side, collaborate on finding solutions together. This shows that you value her input and empowers her to think critically about how to handle things in the future.

  11. Plan for "What Ifs": Instead of just discussing what to do when you're late, explore various "what if" scenarios together. This can help her develop problem-solving skills and feel more prepared in different situations.

So, yeah, these are the changes I'm looking to make. It's all about being there for her in the best way possible and making sure she feels safe and loved no matter what comes our way.


Reflecting on this experience has taught me so much about the power of compassion, communication, and continuous learning.

As a parent, it's easy to react in the heat of the moment, but taking a step back to consider alternative approaches can lead to remarkable transformations in our relationships.

By choosing to embrace my daughter with a hug instead of jumping into interrogation mode, I'm acknowledging the significance of empathy and understanding. It's a reminder that even in challenging situations, our love and support should always come first, setting the stage for open conversations and mutual growth.

Looking ahead, I'm committed to fostering an environment where clear communication thrives.

By preparing for different scenarios, encouraging her self-advocacy, and continuously showing appreciation for her resilience, I hope to empower my daughter with the tools she needs to navigate life's twists and turns.

Every experience, whether joyful or challenging, is an opportunity to connect and grow together.

By centering our interactions in patience, empathy, and open-hearted discussions, I'm confident that our bond will only strengthen. It's a journey filled with lessons, laughter, and endless love, and I'm excited to see where it takes us next.

I hope my sharing helps you learn some insights from my mistakes which can help you better your own parenting experience.

With love.