Piggy Back Rides and Bear Hugs

Mother Nature is wonderful.
Children get too old for piggy-back rides
just about the same time they get too heavy for them.
~Author Unknown

Piggy-back rides, like some of the other pleasures of early childhood, are outgrown far too soon! But just because junior outgrows being slung over your shoulders does not mean he has outgrown his need for physical contact with you.

Most of us know intuitively, and numerous studies confirm, the need for ongoing physical contact for our kids. As social creatures, we never outgrow our need for physical touch. In fact, many of the elderly people I have had the pleasure of working with have shared that they enjoy twice-weekly trips to the salon, for that very reason.

So what to do when you can no longer play airplane or other games that require you to physically lift your offspring off of the ground? Here we give a few tips on things you might find helpful:

1. Bear Hugs - Dole out plenty of hugs. Bear hugs help, especially with teen boys. If your child gives you the cold-shoulder, persist anyways. You can even tell him/her, I know you don't like this, but I just can't help myself...don't worry, you'll get used to it.

2. Car-versations - With our highly mobile society, we often spend more time in transit than we did two decades ago. Capitalize on this time with your 'tween and teen for converstion and "catching up". Talking in the car is less threatening because your teen does not have to make eye-contact. This can offer a happy middle-ground for 'tweens and teens that are hard to engage.

3. Never give up, never surrender - If your 'tween or teen is sullen and disinterested in carrying on a conversation that goes beyond, "Where did you put my new jeans?", do not give up. Continue to do your best to engage your teen and let him or her know that you are there for him/her. He or she is counting on you to do this very thing.

Spin-doctor tip: You KNOW your child needs you to provide shelter, food, warmth and LOVE. Don't be discouraged by his or her seeming disinterest in your hugs. Give them anyways...and give them in abundance. If you are a parent with small children, keep heaping the hugs on now...and NEVER stop!


naomi said…
Lovely blog. I love the fact that I have heaps of bear hugs with MR .8 and a half and wee have great conversation now. I don't miss the piggy backs.

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