Tuesday, October 20, 2009

PD Tool Card: Hugs

I'm picking the Hugs card this week because we have had quite a few difficult days recently. Quite frankly, I need a hug!

Some of my frustration is simply due to the fact that I have more than one kid (which is our own doing of course, but can't be helped now).

All kids go through phases--ups and downs, easy times and challenging times. The issue when you have more than one kid is that sometimes these phases sync up--which is hard because then you are dealing with two or more really irritating challenging people at the same time.

And the other issue is that sometimes these phases DON'T sync up--which is hard because just as one kid is becoming more reasonable, another one is flipping out because suddenly she can't find the arm holes on her dress and by the way she has forgotten how to both remove and put on clothing and so tramps downstairs screaming, one arm in an arm hole in the front, her head halfway through the head hole, the empty arm hole a-flappin' in the breeze behind her.

Or something like that. :o)

I honestly don't know which is harder. When the phases sync up, it's super-dee-dooper crazy insane during the unreasonable times. But then it's simply AWESOME during the reasonable period. Perhaps too awesome, because then I forget about the hard parts.

But when they are out of sync, I feel like I never get a break. We had an AWFUL weekend with Ryan. There were good parts--fortunately mostly during the parts we were with our friends. But he was just . . . awful. As in I'm trembling for my future self during his teen years awful.

And Morgan is going through something, too, evidently (we're skipping art class this morning because it just wasn't going to be possible--a mutual decision, not a punishment or anything). But this morning, Ryan is super great and awesome! Sigh. And I don't get to enjoy it because she is crazy. Which isn't exactly true--I can still enjoy Ryan's niceness. Just not fully.

Okay then! I didn't intend this to be such a gripey post!

Right. Hugs.

This is a technique I have never actually tried before, unlike most of the other PD Tool Cards I've written about. So I'm excited to give it a go. I'll let you know! And thanks for listening!


Tasha said...

I hear ya, sister. I hear ya! We're going through something lately too. I dread the teenage years! Interesting take on the hugs, though. I have always asked if *they* wanted a hug, but never said that *I* needed a hug. It changes the focus from them to me and gives them the power to "fix" something broken, which, sadly, I often am. I'll give it a try too and report back. Until then, tequila! Bottoms up from Bostin!

Amy said...

We've been doing more hugs lately. Sammy is usually like Morgan: a "leave me alone so I can calm down" kind of girl, but lately, she's wanted more comfort. I usually offer the hug, though, not ask for one. I'll be interested to hear how this goes for you, especially if you use it with Morgan.

Heike said...

I have been practicing this skill - and it must have sunk in and resonated with our 2 3/4 old: Last week, when I had a bad morning - rushed, eggs burnt on the stove as I was multi-tasking, baby screaming, phone ringing, raining like crazy - I must have looked very frazzled, and I certainly used a very grumpy voice with Karina (bad me.) So she got up from her high chair, came over to me, and said: 'I need a hug, Mama. I love you - you'll feel better, Mama.'

I will continue to ask for hugs when she's upset :)

Tori said...

I have been telling people all week that your kids (and Kelly's) are the type of children that make me really, really, really, can't-wait excited to have my own kids. They were SUCH a pleasure to be around on Sunday--Morgan regaled David and I with tales of her trip to Disney World during lunch, Ryan absolutely cracked me up with his anecdotes about being a big brother at the end of the meal, and of course Sean is just a cutie.

I know we saw a different side to them from what you see in the day-to-day, and we didn't even get to spend that much time with them, but they truly were a lot of fun. I'm one of those non-moms who has a really short fuse with kids who are misbehaving or being loud in public (I know it can't always be controlled so I try to be understanding--and I know I'll have a longer fuse once I have munchkins of my own!), but on the flip side, I find children who are well-behaved in public to be an absolute pleasure and joy to be around. Yours were!

I hope you move quickly past this particular bump in the road, but I really wanted to tell you how GREAT I thought your kids were. I hope to get together with you (and them) again soon!

Wendy Hawksley said...

We've always hugged, lots and lots, daily. Sometimes my son just does it out of the blue; sometimes I do. This is a GREAT PD Tool!

Ansley Cox said...

Charlie is definitely into hugging and physically comforting when he is upset or anyone he loves is upset. I am the opposite - I want my space, I want to be left alone. If I'm upset, DO NOT touch me if you know what is good for you.

It is easy to comfort my son with hugs and it is WONDERFUL when he offers me a hug, (which he has done when I am super stressed and it made everything better). But I wonder how he'll be affected growing up when he sees his mother disconnecting from everyone when she is upset.

Rational Jenn said...

Hi everyone! Thanks for commenting....

Well, we had another challenging day. I tried the hug thing with a bit of success (with Ryan), although it wasn't in a tantrum situation. I'll write more about it tomorrow I think.

I'm also one who tends to withdraw when angry or stressed. So this is a particular challenge for me. I wonder if this particular tool is more suited to certain personality types.

However, hug or not, I think the idea of making some kind of loving connection when you are in the thick of it is generally a good idea. Because sometimes I'm too busy being mad and it's hard to remember how much I love them while I'm in the moment. Does that make sense?

Morgan, as many of you are aware, retreats when in pain or angry, and to a lesser degree Ryan does the same thing. Sean is more likely to be a hugger; he CLINGS to me when he's upset. It's kinda nice. :o)

Tori--I really needed to hear that, so thanks! I'm glad they were great on Sunday--sometimes it's hard to meet new grownups. ;)

Thanks again for your comments! I hope to have time to write more about this tomorrow.

Kelly Elmore said...

I like the idea very much. Livy is a super huggy upset person. Even if she is horribly mad at me, after she looks at the ceiling and screams a primal scream, she wants to be held while she tells me how made she is at me.

I'm not crazy about the part on the card that says to repeat your need for a hug after the child says no. Seems to me that we ought to take our children seriously when they say that they don't want a hug.

Have you ever read the book The Five Love Languages? I really enjoyed it, though it did have some Christian stuff in it. One of the love languages is physical touch, and Livy and Aaron both give and receive love in that language. If Aaron and I are fighting, just keeping a hand on him makes it so much better for him. I guess my point is that this is a tool that probably works great on a certain population and makes the other part feel smothered.

Tori, I'm glad you enjoyed the kids. It's a little stressful to take them to a restaurant that nice, but I did think it went well. :)


Hanah said...

Can you recommend a good book on the basics of positive discipline, specifically for toddlers and pre-school age if possible? We are just getting to the age where discipline is possible, and I am woefully behind in my reading of parenting books for this stage.