I am fed up.
I am totally over all the outbursts, and the defiance, and the ‘you can’t make me’, and the slammed doors.
Right now I really want to drag him back out here by his shirt and force him to pick up that damn pair of shoes and just put the freaking things away!
The last thing I feel like doing is hugging him, but I do it anyway.
I open the slammed doors and I ask him… “Do you want a hug?”
Sometimes he throws the gesture back in my face, but not today. Today he melts into my arms and cries like he did when he was a toddler, overwhelmed, and unsure.
Today, even though it was the last thing I felt like doing, even though he was being horrible, a hug is what he needed, what we both needed.
Why should you hug your kids when they are being horrible?
Because our kids learn better with love, than with punishment. An hug and a chat about what is going on will get a better response than yelling and punishment.
Because sometimes, when our kids act out, it is a cry for help. Perhaps they can’t express their big feelings in a more appropriate way, or perhaps there is something else bothering them, stressing them out, making them frustrated and a hug can open the door to talking about what is really going on so you can deal with it.
Because sometimes, when our kids feel bad about themselves, they feel like they don’t deserve kindness and respect so they don’t behave in a way that encourages people to give them kindness or respect. And when they get frustration and anger in return, their feelings are validated, they feel worse about themselves, and the vicious cycle begins. Break that cycle by offering a hug and a reminder that making a mistake does not make them a bad person.
Because one of the best ways to get our kids to co-operate is to connect. With a strong connection our kids are more likely to try to do the right thing most of the time… and in the times when they don’t, or can’t, a simple hug can be a powerful way to reconnect.
Because our love for our kids is unconditional. We might dislike the behaviour, but we still love our kids, no matter what. Our kids need to know that, and sometimes they needed to be reminded of it, over and over and over, especially when they are at their lowest.
Because sometimes it is us adults who need a hug. When our kids are hurting, or frustrated, or lashing out and we just don’t know what to do any more, sometimes it is us parents who need the connection, reassurance and a hug.
So next time when everyone is frustrated and you or your child is losing it… offer a hug.
I know it’s hard sometimes, to beat the frustration.
I know sometimes your offer will be thrown back in your face, especially if you have older kids.
But offer anyway… because sometimes a simple hug is the best response for a kid behaving badly.