Friday, October 3, 2014

The Mama Bear Technique

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In my post Embracing Boyhood: Finding Joy in Little Boys, I talked about ways to find joy while parenting busy little boys.

Today I'm going to add to that topic by sharing one of my favorite "boy" techniques. It's simple, really, but it might seem a bit unnatural for the more feminine/prim and proper/perfectionist type Mamas. (like me, lol)

The Mama Bear Technique: Physical Interaction with Little Boys
Little boys are, by nature, quite physical.
They run.
They jump.
They climb.
They struggle with sitting still for long periods of time.
They laugh loudly (and at things that we girls don't even find slightly funny, like body noises).
They throw things (hopefully like footballs and baseballs).
They love to wiggle and tickle and wrestle and tackle each other.
And often, these very things are what get them into T-R-O-U-B-L-E!
The Mama Bear Technique is simply a way we mamas can get on our boys' level and, essentially, get physical.
Sometimes it can be used to CONNECT with our boys in the language they understand:
--Instead of sending them outside to "run off their energy", play a game of tag instead. Shout out "Mommy's 'it' and coming to get you! Better run!"
--Play jumping or running games WITH them.
--The next time someone burps (and you're tempted to reprimand for poor manners), catch their eye and giggle a bit. Really shock them and announce a burping contest after dinner. :)
--When you're folding laundry and get to the sock pile (which is never-ending in our home), fold up the socks into little balls and throw them as hard as you can at your little guys. Start a sock war and watch their eyes light up with joy.
--Call a pillow fight or a tickle battle.
The Mama Bear Technique can also be used to RECONNECT with our boys when they are struggling. This is my favorite use of this technique:
--When your little guy is having a rough time respecting or obeying you, call them over to you, get good eye contact, then give an appropriate rebuke for the misbehavior. Then, when they least expect it, scoop them up and GET PHYSICAL. If they are still little, throw them in the air. Drop them roughly on the couch and tickle them firmly. Chase them to another room. Crawl with them like an animal. If they are older, start wrestling with them. Knock them gently to the ground and get on their level. Have a "who can punch the hardest" contest (prepare to lose, lol).
EVERY time I use this technique, it helps my boys have a more respectful attitude towards me. It's as if I'm speaking their language and THEY LOVE IT. 
Now, I realize that for some mamas, this technique comes natural. But for others, who might struggle with a little more authoritarian, no-nonsense attitude with their children, this technique takes purposeful thought and planning. I know for me, with my older boys (who are getting too big to hold, rock, or snuggle comfortably), I have to REMEMBER to give them that physical interaction they crave.
If you've not been physical with your boys lately, pull this tool out of your Parenting Toolbox and try it today!
*Speaking for myself, after two very long days riding in the van to get from Illinois to South Carolina for our meetings this weekend, I see a game of tag with my little boys in my very near future. :)