My kid uses my own parenting tool on me . . . and it works!

MarcilieUncategorized1 Comment

“I need a hug” is an actual parenting tool from “Positive Discipline.”  You can use this tool almost any time, in any situation, and it often works wonders.
Imagine that your child is having a tantrum.  You say, “I need a hug!”
Your child can’t hear you at first because he is tantrumming (or arguing, or negotiating, or fill in the blank.)  So you say it again, louder, “I need a hug!”
Your child might look at you, confused.  “What?”  he asks.
You say it again,  “I need a hug!”
“Right now?”  Your child asks.
“Yes, right now!”  you reply.
If your child is able to give you a hug, several things will happen.
First, your child feels needed and helpful — a sense of significance.  Second, when your child hugs you, his brain releases a neuropeptide called oxytocin, also known as the “feel-good neurochemical.”  Your child feels loved and connected — he has a sense of belonging.  After some moments of cuddling and connection, you may then be able to re-direct your child to something else, or do some problem-solving together about what to do next.
When children feel a strong sense of belonging and significance, they are far more able to think rationally, and be respectful and cooperative.  They feel better, so then they can do better.
And this is true for adults, too.  Just the other day, I was “losing it” with my daughter, E.  She had been dawdling all morning even though we had made a plan in advance about how she could get herself ready on time.  At the last minute, instead of getting her shoes on, she was making tea for herself and spilled sugar all over the counter.  AHHHHHH!  I flipped my lid, and maybe kinda sorta yelled, “E., what are you doing?!!!”
Fortunately, my younger daughter, M, knew about this hug tool and used it on me.
“Mommy, I need a hug.”  She said.
“What did you say?”  I asked.
“I need a hug,” she replied.  I went over and gave her a hug.
I’ll be darned.  It totally worked.  I felt better.
I was still irritated but far less so, and was able to ask for help while I got my lid back down.  Thank you, M, for reminding me of the power of “I need a hug!”
When might “I need a hug!” come in handy for you?  Please share your thoughts!

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