Dad Hack 015: Hug for 90 seconds to cure any blues

Editor’s Note: The scribes at First Time Father Project will frequently provide ‘Dad Hacks’ as a way to help dads in need go about their every day lives. If you have a hack you currently employ, share it by Contacting Us.


Today’s Dad hack is courtesy of my wonderful wife, who has passed along an amazing realization that provides any parent a Jedi-like superpower whenever utilized. And, the best part, it involves cuddles.

A teacher at a school for kids on the wrong side of “mainstream” due mostly to behavioral issues, she’s long understood that, in the end, all any of us truly need is a little bit of love. In this particular school, that often means a true concern about how the child feels, a simple hello, or even 90 seconds of focused conversation.

In our house, we’ve learned in our dealings with an often wild eight-year-old, and an increasingly-wild 16-month old, that the difference between normal behavior and them taking things to another terrifying level is 90 seconds of love. Instead of words or threats, most of the time, a genuine hug, cuddle, or snuggle for literally 90 seconds does the trick.

While it’s certainly not breaking news to suggest that loving your child can be a good thing, amidst the stress of everyday life, it can be hard to trust in the basics — and it doesn’t get much more basic than this. So, whether it’s time to settle down after a wild play date, your kid’s getting hangry and the food isn’t done yet, or it’s juuuust before bedtime and you’ve had enough of kids for the day, just hug, cuddle, or otherwise love them for 90 seconds and notice the change in their demeanor.

Dad Hack 15.5: This works on wives, husbands, and partners, too!

Ben Larsen

Written by: Ben Larsen

Ben is one of the founders here at First Time Father Project. Follow Ben's trial-by-fire parenting here with columns, essays and more. Learn more about him here.

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