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The simple act of a hug can mean so much regardless of the situation. When you are going through some really difficult times a hug from someone brings comfort, makes you feel that you aren't alone, that you are loved. When you haven't seen someone for a long time you hug to show how much they have been missed, when you get some good news, you hug to show your excitement & happiness.....really hugging is the one thing that fits into everything in your life no matter what the situation. People even hug for no reason other than they enjoy giving them.
There is something about hugs...research shows that hugging encourages oxytocin to flow round your body making you feel all warm & fuzzy inside. It helps you to connect with others & hugging is also good for your health as it lowers your blood pressure, stabilizes your heartbeat and reduces your stress.
But what happens if you have a child who struggles with the concept of hugging? Quite often some disabled children don't enjoy hugging, they become tactile defensive or even find it painful or just cannot deal with the contact. Since I became a mum , I have always made sure I hug my children everyday, there doesn't have to be a reason but I often just grab them for a hug and as they get older especially my older two children they are a bit like "muuuuuuumm" , " why do you keep hugging me" etc but secretly they enjoy it but don't like to show it because apparently it's not "cool"!!
Roo was never a cuddly child, as a baby he snuggled into us whenever we held him but he would never put his arms around us to hug us back. As he got older he would turn away from us, push us away. Sometimes he let us hug him but rarely. When he did allow us to hug him his arms often stayed at his sides, it was always one sided hugs. For the first 3 years of his life he cried and screamed at night and a mother's instinct is to hold and hug their child to comfort them and reassure them but Roo wouldn't have it , he would get more distressed if we tried, he fought against us so often we had to sit there by his side just holding his hand. It was heartbreaking to see him so upset and knowing that your hugs did nothing for him, that he resented them. His brother's would sometimes get upset when Roo refused them to touch or hug him, they didnt understand why he couldn't tolerate them or when he did let them hug him they asked "why does he never hug back?"
Then almost a year ago out of the blue he lifted his arms and put them round my husband's neck, the look on his face said it all and he hugged Roo close. We thought it was a one off but then he came over to me and did the same...it was a special moment, one I always treasure.
Then he never did it again for several months but started again with an occasional half hearted hug every couple of weeks. But since starting school he has started to understand what it means when we ask him for a hug, he will come up to you , put his arms around you and let's you hug back... We still have days where he cannot bear to be hugged but the days he does we cherish every moment, I close my eyes and feel so proud of how far he has come, of how he is changing and becoming more loving. His hugs along with my other children are the best medicine ever.