Hug Therapy

A hug is like a boomerang, you get it back right away. – Bill Keane

So anyone with kids knows that the smaller they are the bigger tantrums they can throw! I’ve been blessed with fairly good kids for the most part but they can certainly hold their own in the tantrum department when they need to.

My 6yo has been at Y camp most of the summer- including multiple weeks of Splash camp with a lot of time spent in the sun. The energy of swimming most of the day combined with hot sun on many days made her pretty tired and well…cranky! The perfect storm of ingredients for a super storm tantrum! Sure enough toward the end of that first week of Splash camp – I pick her up and instead of her usually daily sunny disposition she’s whiny and complaining about everything! Uh oh!

We get home and she’s still whiny. She knows that whiny doesn’t live in our house so I ask her to take it upstairs to her ‘special place’ (a corner in her room full of plush toys where she goes to snuggle, read or just have quiet time) she says No! Uh oh– saying No to mommy doesn’t fly in our home much either. It’s been one of those nights with my 2yo up multiple times so I’m not at my best either…I move away to the other room to breathe and regroup before talking to her again– all while my 2yo is on a constant litany of ‘up mommy, up mommy, up mommy, up mommy…’ (If you want to learn persistence hang out with a toddler! They are like a dog with a bone who just won’t let go!)

6yo comes in to my quiet space and is whiny– once more I ask her not to be– and she won’t quit. I insist she go upstairs and again NO! And now she’s beginning to melt down– I’m trying to gently take her upstairs and its not happening! Finally with the intention of carrying her I pick up her fighting body in a bear hug and the more she struggles the tighter I hug her until finally she melts into my arms sobbing. We have a very specific way that she likes to be calmed down- my hand on her heart and we breathe deeply together – at least 3-5 times. Within moments I realized we had diffused a potentially long tantrum and it worked wonders for my tired mind as well.

So the next time your toddler, youngster or even partner is ‘throwing a tantrum’ surprise them by hugging them instead of fighting back and just imagine how quickly that situation will diffuse. Oftentimes it’s the grudge we carry that makes things worse than it is– or our ego gets in the way of us being the bigger person…however if your actions are ‘for the greater good’ then you know very well that all that’s called for is a hug!

Sending all of you a big {{{{{HUG}}}}}

2 thoughts on “Hug Therapy

  1. Thank you Dave! Yes I think most people operate that way- we want to ‘fix’ the problem – sometimes listening actively allows the person talking to just work through it themselves and come up with their own solution!


  2. Wonderful article, beautifully stated! As a guy, I need to take this sage advice into consideration and just offer a hug instead of always trying to fix problems 😉 Thank you for the amazing insights!


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