Azine Graff, PsyD
It can be hard to consider hugging our child when they are acting out. There’s this fear of reinforcing the behavior, and so we have been taught to punish, remove toys, ignore the behavior, and respond with a poker face.
But consider a time when you had a rough day, snapped at your partner over something trivial, and all you felt you really needed to melt away the stress was a hug or some comfort.
Did you ask for a hug? If so, then what a gift you and your partner have to be vulnerable and communicate so openly. If you didn’t ask, think about why? Maybe what you needed did not even cross your mind. Maybe you were too heated and on the defense to ask.
When we are in a heated moment or feeling a surge of our emotions, it makes it much harder to think rationally. When considering our children and how they are developing their prefrontal lobe (the part that does a lot of the planning and decision-making), it then makes sense that they have much more difficulty in expressing themselves calmly when under stress.
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