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7 Ways to Get Closer to Your Teen

Maintaining Physical Contact

Sure, teens need lots of affection, but there's growing evidence that parents, especially moms, also thrive on physical contact with loved ones. A study at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill found that hugging and holding hands with your spouse produces stress-reducing chemicals powerful enough to lower blood pressure. Women benefit more than men -- in part because closeness triggers the release of oxytocin, the same stress-busting chemical mothers produce while breastfeeding. (Higher levels of oxytocin have also been linked to lower breast-cancer rates.) Depending on how crazed life is in your home, you may need more of those warm-and-fuzzy moments than your husband. So don't hesitate to tell him, "I need a hug -- now!"

Originally published in the February 2009 issue of Family Circle magazine.