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GROWING up in a house filled with love is the best gift we can give our children.

When we welcome them to this world, we are responsible for ensuring they have a positive outlook on life and the future by creating a loving, caring environment.

It is like building a fort to ward off a hostile attack.

This fort has to be strong and able to withstand all the external elements.

Only when we are safely inside can we plan to expand our circle of influence and achieve greatness.

Putting this perspective in the parenting context, our home is the fort where all members feel safe.

Once this is built, the family can then go ahead to plan what they want to achieve.

Let’s get back to basics to ensure that we are starting our family journey on the right path.

One of the basic needs is to hug each other.

The National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN), an agency under the Ministry Of Women, Family And Community Development, is launching a 10 Seconds Family Hug campaign in conjunction with 1Malaysia National Family Month this November.

Given its many benefits, I fully support this initiative.

MEDICAL BENEFITS

Research has proven that hugging, laughing and smiling, are good for our health.

Researchers have discovered that two types of natural drugs - oxytocin and serotonin - may be released by our body when we hug.

Oxytocin heals the feelings of loneliness, isolation and anger while serotonin can better our moods and create a feeling of happiness.

Young babies especially, are in need of a lot of hugs and kisses.

This is one of life’s miracles as the more we hug babies, the healthier their growth.

Numerous studies have shown that massaging, hugging and holding your babies can promote their physical and psychological growth faster.

PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS

Proper hugs can deliver many benefits on this front as well.

Asians in general do not express their love with hugs.

However, appropriate physical contacts are among the best ways to reaffirm love to our family.

The wa rmt h of pa rents’ hugs will do wonders in creating psychologically balanced and wonderful children.

They will feel so secure and loved that there is no reason for them to misbehave or disobey their parents.

Hugs will also cleanse their minds of any negative feeling.

That is reason enough for us to hug and kiss them before dropping them off to school.

With a clear and positive mind, they will be more ready to absorb the lessons and go on to do well in school.

On the flip side, children who do not receive hugs and kisses tend to be aggressive, less confident, insecure and unable to focus in classrooms.

Any child will want and need the assurance of love through hugs and kisses.

This is especially true when they feel down, frustrated, angry and dejected.

If left unchecked, these feelings will fester into a sense of hopelessness or insecurity, which in turn will manifest as aggressive and anti-social behaviours.

DO IT RIGHT

Since hugging our loved ones is so critical, we’d better leverage on its power to the fullest.

There is a proper technique to hug to get the greatest impact.

We must ensure that the eye-level and the “heart-level”, especially, is the same between the two people.

This means that for parents, they should kneel to their kids’ level.

or the child can stand on an elevated bench.

Secondly, enough time must be given for the hug to work its magic.

Ten seconds is the most ideal duration.

This is the reason why LPPKN chose the 10 seconds duration.

It is to ensure that enough warmth, love and affections are being exchanged properly.

Do it a few times a day, and your family should experience its transformational power.

Let us support this initiative fully.

Let us take this opportunity to rejuvenate our family love with hugs.

Join me and millions of other parents who have and will experience the magical power of love through this 10 Seconds Family Hug campaign!

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