My little one is at an age where he is starting to develop his own style of independence, and as a result some days are just one frustrating argument after another. I know that he is trying to make sense of his world and figure out where the boundaries are, but that unfortunately translates into him pushing all my buttons and I have to work really hard not to take it personally.
One of the most successful strategies I’ve found to turn these kinds of days around for *both of us* is to ask “have you had enough hugs today?” Unfailingly, his answer is NO, he hasn’t had enough. So then we start a silly game of him telling me random numbers of how many hugs he needs, and then I give him lots and lots. Then when he has had his fill, he will ask me how many hugs I need. And I take as many as he will give me. And without fail, we both feel better and, like magic, our day is back on track.
“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” – Virginia Satir
All you need to do is google “benefits of hugs” to find tons of articles and quite a bit of research that lists the many positive results that come from hugs. Before I had my son, there were many days, even weeks, that I never got a hug. I always just thought of myself as not a hugger. Now, that thought makes me sad. I know that he won’t always respond in the same way as he gets older. But I hope that in a small way, I’m helping him start him down the path of knowing that we, as people, are not as alone as we sometimes feel. That the people around us are our community and it is okay to ask for help or support. And that sometimes all you need to turn your day around is a great hug.