This is an article I wrote almost three years ago that shares one of my favorite hugs success stories. Over the last five years I have realized how important and effective giving hugs ALWAYS is.
Most often it is one of my boys that will remind me that all they need is a hug. This story is a reminder that even when we may not be ready–it’s a Positive Discipline tool that works every time.
My two boys (Greyson, three-years-old, and Reid, one-year-old) took one of our late night strolls around the block. We came upon a neighbor’s house where there were all kinds of kids playing. Greyson was fascinated by all the different activities going on. There were kids from all different age groups playing basketball, catch, riding on a scooter etc. So we stopped for about 5 minutes talking and watching them.
It started getting dark and cold, Reid started getting fussy, and I started to feel a little awkward just standing in front of this neighbor’s house while Greyson watched the “people.” When I told Greyson that it was time to go, he was not ready. He wanted to stay and watch the people.
I logically explained to him all the reasons of why we needed to go. After asking him the second time and him still refusing, I told him that he had a choice. He could either walk with me or hold my hand, or I would pick him up and carry him away…either way we were leaving.
Of course he did not want to hold my hand, but his brother was in the Bjorn so I firmly grabbed his had and said it was time to go. What I wanted to do was drag him like a rag doll; especially because I felt like e was ignoring me and not listening…and I was going to show him who was boss and how annoyed I was.
So as I was firmly holding his hand, he started crying/screaming at the top of his lungs. (Greyson has always had the loudest most ear piercing cry of any other child I or anyone else has ever encountered). Of course one of my neighbors was walking her dog and looking at me as if I just beat him…and from the sound of his cry it sounded like I had.
I was desperately trying to be calm and to ignore his crying and to let him have his feelings, but we were both just getting more upset. I knew what to do, but did NOT want to do it. However, at the risk of embarrassing myself with the rest of the neighbors, I got down to his level and told him I needed a hug.
Naturally he immediately fell into my arms—willing and loving to give me a hug back. Instantly we both felt better and the crying stopped. I explained to him that we needed to go and he explained to me that he wanted to watch the people. Then we all walked home together.
The moral of this story is that as much as I knew it would work to give him a hug when we were both feeling upset, I didn’t feel like giving him a hug. I too was mad for not getting my way.
Giving a hug in the middle of a temper tantrum, once again is easier said than done. However, after hugging, we both felt better—and behaved better.