Maybe Sometimes Your Kid Just Needs a Hug

I ran out of threats.

I ran out of energy.

I ran out of the room.

Mothering can be exhausting and emotional and it can empty you.

It was one of those days where my patience was a thin rope and my child was swinging from it. I was barely holding on and she wouldn’t let go.

Go. To. Your. Room.

I sighed and paced. Consequences ran through my mind and I made my mental list of how I should handle her actions.

My head was foggy, but I heard it clear Go to her.

Just the thought diffused my anger. I laid down my need for control.

I put away my rules and my mental list of consequences. I set aside the threats and the lectures. I slowly climbed the stairs and stood at her doorway. She looked up, eyes brimming. Instead of seeing a defiant child, I saw pain. Instead of seeing anger, I saw my little girl. I walked to her bed and sat down. Without saying a word, I wrapped my arms around her.

 Sometimes our kids just need a hug

She bristled at first and tried to pull away. But I held on and slowly, she melted in to me. And we sat there saying nothing, but everything that needed to be said.

Maybe sometimes our kids don’t need another rule.

Maybe they don’t need another consequence or punishment.

Maybe sometimes we need to break our own rules and just go to them.

Maybe they simply need us to hold them long and hard.

Maybe every once in awhile, our kids need to know no matter what they are feeling or experiencing, no matter how hard they struggle against us or how hard they fight, we will be there.

Standing in the doorway, waiting.

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    This is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing. It’s so true, and so easy to lose sight of it. I’m starting to suspect that it’s just as true of my husband and myself, too! Just go hug. Quit the arguing and defending and striving. Just love. Wonderful post!!

  2. 2

    says

    Oh, yes. When kids are stuck in the Getting It All Wrong Cycle (try, fail, repeat) I have found the most powerful tool in my parenting chest is simply to pull them close, hold them near my heart, and whisper, “I love you. This behavior has to stop, but it doesn’t make me love you any less. You know that, right?”

  3. 3

    E says

    Love this! Please check out Connectedfamilies.com or find them on facebook. They are a wonderful resource for parenting with grace. I have no affiliation with them, I have just learned a lot from their sites!

  4. 4

    Marie says

    I think this was just for me. I woke up this morning early and read Lysa Terkurst book The bathtub is overflowing but I feel drained. The chapter was on words we speak to our kids. I had devotions and read scripture and then started my day. Kids were being amazing, no fighting or bickering or yelling. And then it happened… My strong willed daughter lost it over a DVD and any encouragement I read seemed to have vanished. Instead of love I felt anger and even hate! How could a mother feel these things!!! It was ugly. Too ugly to even share. I said things I shouldn’t. My husband texted me and tried to encourage me. I left that child sitting in the kitchen and went to try and pray. Once I felt like I could look at her again I brought her up to my bed and pulled out my bible. And we began to read Eph. 4:29-32. I shared how I was wrong and we examined where she was wrong. Then we went to proverbs15:1-7. I then tried to pour love into her bucket that I had single handedly empty 1/2 hour earlier. And we prayed. Then she said what she loves about me and said she was sorry. And we left the room hoping for a better day. I feel more at peace even with the caous brewing. But so far I’ve only had to give a gentle reminder about showing kindness.
    I blow it often it feels like these days but my husband reminds me that I am quick to say I’m sorry and to admit when I blow it.
    Moms stay strong today!!! The enemy is trying to defeat us! But even when we blow it God is loving us and forgiving us so let’s forgive ourselves!!

  5. 6

    Elizabeth says

    Oh, this applies to much more than just children. I had a nice neat little plan for my day today when it got thrown off and I took it out on my husband and snapped at him. I went and cried as I did the dishes thinking about how it wasn’t even 10am and I’d already blown my day. My husband, the one who was NOT in the wrong, came out from the bedroom and simply wrapped his arms around me. And I lost it. I’m so very thankful for grace- from my heavenly Father, my husband, and other loved ones. I’m not a mommy yet, but I pray that once I have children I will be a grace filled parent and will know when my little ones simply need a good, long hug

  6. 7

    says

    Yes, sometimes there is great wisdom in a hug.

    I could use one, too, today. Fortunately, God is always there, standing in the doorway, waiting.

    GOD BLESS!

  7. 8

    Susan Penney says

    Ross Campbell in his book ‘How to Really Love Your Child’ calls it filling up the child’s emotional tank … and it is so easy to say but sometimes gets lost in my wanting to parent well and now grandparent well. Lots of hugs, eye to eye contact, ‘I love you” and one on one time … especially when the children start acting up or misbehaving. Grace indeed!

  8. 9

    says

    So Much Yes and Amen here! And sometimes – what we Mama’s really need is to bridge the gap in humility and lean in, hold on, and breathe slowly… feeling them melt back into us!

  9. 10

    says

    So, I popped open my email after just sending my oldest to bed with the famous “because I said so.” The truth is, I am exhausted from a day full of arguing, trying to hold my cool and point all these precious ones to Jesus. They didn’t see him in me today.
    I can hear him muttering angry words from his room now. The doorway isn’t far away…

  10. 11

    says

    So much truth you speak! I have to constantly remind my self to pick my battles. I also have to remember that life is rough and our babies are just trying to find their place in this world. The only way to teach our kids to extend grace is by demonstrating it to them. This is a great reminder of that.

  11. 12

    Susan says

    That was me today, too, Melissa. Only it was my youngest, who got into my make-up bag this morning before school, and then all day my oldest, who insist on having the last word, wanted to argue over school work. Then there’s my middle child, who gives me the hug because he sees how tired I am by the time I go to tuck him in. I wish giving hugs everyday could solve the struggles of parenthood, but I believe a whole lot of love a ton of prayer need to go into it as well.

  12. 14

    Kim Porter says

    Once again, your words smack me in the face with their honesty… Can’t thank you enough for your post. I have a teenager that I’m struggling with daily. Prayer and deep breaths help, but there are those moments of lost tempers and harsh words and yes, her doorway is where I stand and see my baby girl hurting and confused by all that she’s feeling just in trying to grow up and express independence. Hugging her, at those times, is as much to help me heal as it is to help heal her. Thanks again. I need these reminders, every so often, that we parents are going through similar trials. It’s comforting and helps put things into perspective.

  13. 15

    says

    This is especially true for my most strong-willed child (the one who will hold it to the death at potty time.) We have learned to choose our battles when possible. He will not admit defeat- we must give him a chance to back down gracefully.

  14. 16

    says

    My youngest daughter is like this. She gets all riled up and she is not even really trying to be defiant (although, obviously there are those times too) and you can tell her little 4 year old body and she is just Full of Emotion and it doesn’t know where to go. She will even ask for a hug and that’s my sign that there is more going on than meets the eye. Drives my hubby nuts that I will stop and hug her — but mother’s heart knows the difference.
    This is not foot stamping, door slamming, back talking stubbornness — it’s just a little girl with some frustrations and emotions that are way to big for her. A bit of love and grace goes a long way in those moments.

  15. 17

    says

    Thank you a lot for sharing this with all folks you really know what you’re speaking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also talk over with my website =). We may have a link alternate contract among us

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