Ever since my last desperate post about my son’s behavior, I’ve sought out ways to help him on my own. The fact that his behavior at school did not match his behavior at home felt like a huge hint to me. He needs something from me. His stress level by the time he gets home must reach epic proportions. What can we do? What do we do now? Does our reaction help?
- We can do lots of things. I’ll get to that in a minute.
- We had been just sending him to his room and fussing at him for his behavior. After hours of repeated behavior, either my husband’s voice or mine would get louder, making the behavior worse.
- Did our reaction help? Obviously, it did not. Behaviors continue to worsen as our reactions to his behavior get more negative. We went the punitive route, and he should face consequences for hitting and destructive behaviors, but we should also find ways to prevent that from happening.
What does my son really need? A hug. Studies have shown that human touch increases the chemical called oxytocin in your blood stream, then the heart rate goes down, and it tends to calm you. I’ve found that, lately, when Squeaker gets upset, 90% of the time, I can just ask him if he needs a big hug. He will agree. Once I get him over for the hug, he will let me start rubbing his back, and he calms right down. He gets from the stage where he’s about to hit or kick someone to where he’s calm enough to almost fall asleep in about 30 seconds. That’s the power of human touch!
The other thing we did was buy him a trampoline for his birthday (a mini trampoline). He gets out a lot of that excess energy that he’s got built up without destroying anything in the process, he gets tired enough at the end of the night that he sleeps well, and we all win.
Next, I’ve got a sand table on the way that we bought with the birthday money his uncle and aunt sent him. That will also help with some of his sensory issues and get him occupied with someone else during some of the harder times. I have a goal to get the house more sensory-friendly and give him an outlet for when these rough days occur so that he knows what he can do when he’s not feeling well.
In short: I think I’m starting to figure things out again. I just lost myself in a moment of exhaustion and desperation. You know…mom stuff. We’ll survive this obstacle like all the others now that I’ve figured out the power of human touch. We’ll just hug it out.