How to Calm the Climate—at Home!

_A150897Dr. Louise Hart stood on a chair at the end of the 2017 Zorgos Awards and shared something from her career as a parent educator: a wonderful exercise that teaches healthy touch. She learned about it in the International Journal for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse & Neglect, way back in the 1980s. Here’s an excerpt from The Winning Family, which inspired The Bullying Antidote.

Nurses would bring mothers who had been raised with abusive touch together with their children, for a cup of tea and a chance to change their natural instincts. This was such a hit they called it the “New Zealand Treat,” in which givers put their hands on the backs of receivers, and act out a “Weather Report.”

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It’s important to establish that the body receiving the attention is in charge, and should be giving feedback. (More! Harder! Stop that!) The purpose is to inflict pleasure, not pain. One mother found that she was able to stifle the urge to hit her child by massaging his back instead—with far superior results!

Humans are hard-wired for touch. Teaching children to give and receive massage is as beneficial as teaching them to value exercise, hard work and a good diet. Read more about the benefits of massaging your child. In this high-tech society, there is more a need for high-touch than ever before. Read this article in EduTech for more thoughts on that.

But in a world where the climate is changing and we feel out of control, this give-and-take exercise allows children and adults alike to feel calmer, connected, and more able to cope. It also provides a way to talk about and plan for ways to hande climate disasters as our world changes every day.

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Calm the climate in your home with this easy massage practice.

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Discussion Questions: Chapter Nine

“A Warm Family Climate”

When children feel warmth from their caregivers, they can relax and learn. This chapter discusses how warmth is blocked and how to open avenues.

“It has been proven over and over again that a warm, caring, and positive emotional climate builds resilience and other strengths that help children avoid bullying dynamics.” (p. 151)

Q: Did you grow up in a warm family or one that had a lot of emotional distance? Describe the dynamics. How did your family climate help you or hinder you?

“Society teaches us to be fearful.” (p. 152)

Q: Was your family tone more joyful or fearful? How did that affect your subconscious programming?

“…turn off the autopilot that repeats the past and learn to listen to intuition…” (p. 155)

Q: Have you ever caught yourself “parenting on automatic?” What happens when you become aware of what you are doing, what messages you are giving?

“It has been proven over and over again that a warm, caring, and positive emotional climate builds resilience and other strengths that help children avoid bullying dynamics.” (p. 151)

Q: Did you grow up in a warm family or one that had a lot of emotional distance? Describe the dynamics. How did your family climate help you or hinder you?

HALT stands for hungry, angry, lonely, or tired… check for all of these things when emotions are getting out of hand.

Q: When a child is hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, they need to get their needs met before making any progress. Is this also true for adults?

Ways to engage include: connection rituals, telling stories, using sweet words, touch, freewheeling play…

Q: What are some positive ways you engage with your kids?

And our favorite question….

Q: What sentence, paragraph, or idea popped out at you, or stuck with you after reading?

Reply in the Comments, below!

Looking for resource links? Click here.

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