Do You Need a Hug?
I'm finally getting the hang of this parenting tool my husband regularly employs: the power of the hug. Whenever Jacob has been out of control or sad or recently disciplined or hurt, the question comes, "Do you need a hug?" The answer is inevitably "yes", a hug is shared, and connection is made. And better spirits/behaviour usually follow. There is a feeling of being understood and accepted even when feeling or acting less than lovely.
This morning I was mostly at loggerheads with my new nephew. Realizing that I don't have much relational history with him to balance my authority, I decided I somehow needed to have affection as my next experience with him. The opportunity soon arose as he got into trouble with his cousins and grandma and came upstairs. I asked him, "Do you need a hug?" The rest is history...he was a transformed boy. The neat thing was, Jacob joined in the hugging and his compassion for his cousin grew and when asked if he would share his toy which had previously caused them both grief, he willingly said "yes".
I think in our adult relationships, we could probably stand to use this idea too. We have our unmet expectations and power struggles and criticisms and hurts from each other. Maybe we just need to say in the heat of the moment, "Do you need a hug?" And watch what happens...