Saturday, June 21, 2014

the hug rule

once upon a time there was a very good little boy with way too much energy.   he was kind and loving and helpful.   he got lots of attention and played with his mommy all day long.   anything she did, he did with her.   he just had a lot of energy.   that energy would sometimes sneak out of his body without him knowing it.   it would make a hand to reach out and smack someone.   if you asked him why he did it, he really would not remember doing it.   he was taken to doctors who insisted he was normal.   his mother came up with the best description that all of the doctors agreed with.   he was "a normal little boy, just exaggerated".

so, this is where i was, looking for some help but not wanting my son just medicated.

finally, i just did some mom diagnosis.   i realized that he really did just have more energy than he could control.   i realized that he no matter how much attention he was getting, it wasn't enough.   i realized that he would subconsciously do things to get some attention.   bad attention is better than no attention.   once i realized what he was doing, i could help him understand it too.   when he would "act up" i would ask him if he wanted some attention.   i would ask him if it was nice to get in trouble or if it would be better to have a hug than to get in trouble.   this is where the hug rule was created.

the hug rule -
anyone, anytime, can get a hug from anyone in the house/family.
there is some fine print to this rule of course.   if the person is on the phone, you have to be quiet when getting a hug.   if the person is busy with something, you might have to get a one arm hug but you will get acknowledgement.   the person you go to has to know about the rule, so we don't hug strangers.   if you just did get in trouble and sent to your room/time out, you have to go to time out first.

this works!

here's why it works.
there is the explanation of why they are doing things.   they don't know why, they don't understand it themselves.   this helps them to understand themselves.
they get a positive alternative to what they would normally do.

here i am on the third child, the rule still applies.   my third also has "too much energy".   i have worked with him in the same way.   of course, you have to explain things differently for each child and i had to add that last rule for this last loop hole finding child.   he is still learning to recognize his own motivations.   when he starts "acting up" i ask him why he is doing it and if he needs attention.   then i ask if he wants good attention or bad attention.   and i ask how we get good attention.   with this line of questioning the standard, he is starting to just come tell me he needs attention.   if i have to ask him about it, it takes less questions for him to understand and just come get a hug.

as my oldest has become a teen and my second is entering the teen fun.   this age has helped me find a new use for this awesome rule.   mom hugs!   i have an angry teen and i need to let them know i love them before they go stomping off to their room - anyone, anytime, gets a hug.   mom gets a hug from them!  i take the opportunity to tell them i love them and some kind of positive comment for them.   sometimes i sing something to them, which generally gets a laugh.   this is one of those picking your timing things.   some situations need singing, some just need some words of love.    either way, i love using the hug rule!

now, my kids use the hug rule on each other and i use it on my husband.   i have shared this info with teachers and they have adapted it to their classrooms.   the oldest, my original "exaggerated child", has grown quite a bit and understands his own head better than before.   we have built on the, "why are you doing this?" question over the years.   helping the kids understand what they are doing and why has been a great tool in their lives.   giving mom the opportunity to give some kind and loving words in times of anger is priceless!

that is the beauty of the hug rule!

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