Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Smothering my boy with love

Our boys have totally been reacting to spring. Like little bees, they’ve been buzzing and flitting everywhere. In the process, they have been driving us crazy. My one friend said, “It’s like the seed that’s trying to sprout out of the ground. It has all this energy in it that’s making it buzz and fidget, trying to make its way out of the ground.” That image of my boys having all this energy really put it in perspective for me.

That’s not to say we’ve been coping with all this extra energy calmly and peacefully. We’ve been especially frustrated with our oldest son, Louie, who just turned eight. I felt that my whole day was spent telling him to stop doing that annoying thing he was doing. The hardest thing to deal with was his lack of respect for me and my mother in addition to that extra dose of defiance he was displaying.

Meditating on the cause

I started reading a book by Henning Kohler called, “Working with Nervous, Anxious and Depressed Children.” Louie’s teacher recommended it as an excellent read for any parent of a child in the lower grades. He said, “Get past the title and read it for the content.” We are actually reading it as a second grade parent body and will be discussing it in a month.

It’s not the simplest of books to read, but the first few pages talk about every child having a guardian angel who helps them. He continues to say that we can ask their guardian angel to help us figure out what’s going on with our child prior going to sleep. I decided to meditate on Louie a few nights ago to try to figure out what was going on with all the extra emotion he was having and causing.

I woke up at three am and had my epiphany. The answer was that he felt that he wasn’t getting enough attention and consequently didn’t feel loved. Therefore, all his acting out was a form of getting attention. I thought about that without getting defensive. I know that my husband and I give him so much attention and love. That wasn’t the point though; the point was that he was feeling like that wasn’t enough.

Smothering him with love

I told my husband what I thought in the morning and he said that he could see that. We called Louie and his brother into our room and gave them the biggest bear hug and smothered them with love. We took our time in making him feel that we really, really loved and cared about him. We’ve also made an extra effort to show him that love continuously throughout the day. The amazing thing is that it worked. He’s mellowed out completely and the disrespect is gone.

Today, I happened to be hearing a lecture on CD by Kim John Payne called, “The
Compassionate Response” and it was basically saying the same thing. At times, when our kids defy us, we tend to rise up to the occasion rather than assuming that something is truly bothering them whether it is warranted in our mind or not. We treat both our kids the same, it’s just that for some reason, Louie needed an extra boost. Giving it to him has allowed that wonderful being he is to shine through again.

Your thoughts … I’d love to hear them

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Can’t wait to give my boy his bear hug when I see him!


  1. There is a quote that basically sums it all up~ "Our children need our love most when they seem to least deserve it."
    I agree, giving my 3 year old big hugs when he is having a melt down is much more effective than going straight into the "disciplinary mode". The sad part is that you often find yourself defending your actions, as there is a lot of societal pressure to discipline.
    I have 3 older daughters (15, 18, 21), all of whom I parented with this compassion, rather than rushing to put them in time out, etc. They are very courteous, conscientious,loving, wonderful young women. And believe me, they were (sometimes still are!) very strong willed. Follow your heart when raising your children!

  2. It took me a while to get comfortable with following my intuition when it came to my kids. Ever since I've started doing that, the results have been wonderful.

    Again, tonight my son was totally acting out. I asked him if he'd like a hug and he rushed to give me one and then proceeded to totally relax. We were able put an end to the behavior with a hug.

    I love that quote that you started your comment with. Thanks for sharing.

  3. My Dad said he heard an interview with a woman who had five children. The interviewer - don't ask me why this person asked this - asked her "Which one do you love the most?" The Mom said, "Well, whoever happens to need the most love at that moment." I liked that shift in perspective.

  4. I think that's so true. If you have more than one child, the one who's calling for it the most gets the attention.