From Mixed Moving Feelings to Withholding of Affections

article top

“Suzanne Gelb Image”

”Good News, Why the Tears?”


Dear Dr. Gelb:

My family and I are relocating out of state because my husband has a good job offer. There are a ton of good reasons for us to move. So why do I feel sad about moving?


Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Sad:

Many people experience a natural type of separation anxiety when making a transition such as moving. There are numerous losses that can accompany relocating and it is important to grieve them. That is purpose of the natural emotion “grief” — to deal with the losses that are experienced during a lifetime.

Relocating symbolizes a type of loss, no matter how much one may be gaining personally or financially because of a move. There is still likely to be a sense of loss and separation and it is important to grieve such losses and celebrate the changes.

”Off Limits, Why No Hugs?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

My teen-age daughter is undemonstrative to our family. She won’t let us hug her but she is lovey dovey with her friends. We’re a loving family and my husband and I believe in discipline and rules, but there has never been abuse or anything like that. I know my daughter doesn’t like our rules, but why would she make her parents/family off limits like this?

No Hugs

Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear No Hugs:

One way that some parents have handled the challenge you describe has been to not make an issue about the withholding. This is because they believed that the alternative, disapproval, was what the child was looking for. In a rebellious and punitive way, the child was trying to get at their parents and punish them for what s/he considered to be unfairness.

It is important that parents not allow such withholding to undermine their confidence about their parenting standards. Soon the child is likely to realize that the withholding behavior is their loss, not their parents’.

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

”’Email your questions to More information on Dr. Gelb’s services and related resources available at”’