Sometimes all you need is a hug.
When my youngest was a wee little spitfire, I had heard a speaker or read something that struck me. In the times when our kids are throwing temper tantrums, or acting out ... it's those times when they need us to draw closer to them - not pull away. The temptation and my normal reaction as a parent was always to separate them from me until they could get it together. When they are little it seems they can never get it together fast enough. I still think this approach is appropriate at times, but there is another way ....
After reading this new-to-me insight, I tried something with my daughter that has paid off immensely. When she was a toddler throwing a tantrum, or a tired 11 year old feeling sassy and put out ... I have to make a concious choice not to react ... I try to remember the words of this wise woman who said what they need from us is to draw closer not pull away. In the moments of drama and tears, instead of scolding or threatening time outs and lost privileges -- all it took with my daughter was to kneel down on her level and hold her tight in my arms. The tears, the over-reacting, the carrying on -- within seconds -- would stop. Almost suddenly. Then we could talk rationally about what was going on. But the tight and patient embrace was all it would take to diffuse what would normally be an ongoing and annoying show of emotion.
I'm not sure this would work with all temperaments, but it sure worked like a charm with my determined little spitfire. And it still works on her today as a tween. What a great tool. A compassionate response. A simple and patient embrace.
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