Affection for Dummies

This video about the dad singing the Beatles with his son has been shared a lot by my friends lately. It’s super cute as the toddler screams, “Don’t let me down.” As I watched it this morning I was thinking about how much pressure parents are under to not” let their kids down” in the affection department. Affection can be tricky as each kid needs it differently.

show themI struggle with affection. While I was growing up my mom was overly emotional and my dad wasn’t consistent with his emotions (as he was angry one minute and then trying to give you a hug the next.) I think somewhere I convinced myself that affection was not to be trusted.

As a parent this is problematic. Kids need affection.  I don’t necessarily like to give it and I have four kids who all need it.

Something funny and educational happened at our house last week at Abigail’s birthday party and it taught me a good lesson about affection.

LG (the hubs) is the YM President in our ward. (He is like a youth pastor to teenage boys – for those who aren’t Mormon) One of LG’s boys was at Abigail’s party and was playing in the backyard with the blue hamster ball as shown. Out of nowhere LG took off racing across the yard and tackled the young man who screamed as he saw my 300 pound husband coming in full force. Jeff quickly (and wisely) ducked into the safety of the ball and easily weathered the collision. We all laughed. When LG reappeared at my side I questioned, “What was that?” He answered, “Oh that’s how guys show affection. We have to rough each other up.”  hmm. How would I know that being the mother of 4 girls?

Abigail came home from church the next day relaying how Jeff retold his version of the story. Apparently the terrifying experience had earned him bragging rights in Sunday School and Abigail listened on with pride for her crazy dad.

I put this lesson to use the other night. Abigail is our child that does not like affection. She is especially leery of affection from mom and dad. After a  trying talk over our intentions to limit her use of electronics in the evening hours she was upset. As I walked away from her still sulking on the couch I had a stroke of genius: I turned back and tackled her with a hug. We ended up wrestling for a good 15 minutes. She thought if she could beat me she could somehow win back the privilege of taking her cell phone to bed. It wasn’t going to happen. First of all, she can’t beat me and secondly, if she did she still wasn’t taking her cell phone to bed. At the end of the wrestling match, I felt close to Abigail and she was obviously happy about the physical touch.

Who knew after giving birth to four daughters that my hubby actually does have a son? Abigail needs affection in a way that only guys are supposed to understand. No wonder this mother has been failing. I will be on the look-out for other ways to show love to my girls that I have been missing.

I leave you with a great song. We heard it while out shopping the other day and we all love it. The lyrics embody another good lesson about affection.