Hugs are forms of affirmation and affection for the child to feel loved. In the Asian context, the words “I love you” might not come out easily therefore making “hugs” even more important as an alternative to show affection especially after a harsh punishment.
No parents enjoy punishing their children, but when the need arises, it is vital it is executed swiftly and with perfect orchestration.
Firstly, it must be pre-warned that a punishment is coming, but when the warning didn’t work, the punishment must be meted out. Once punishment is meted out, the child must always apologise for the misbehaviour and parents MUST hug them to let them know that they are punished because
- They are loved and are forgiven
- Mummy and Daddy want the best for him/her
- Mummy and Daddy still love him/her no matter what
When hugs do not follow a harsh punishment, children will be left thinking
- I’m naughty and not forgiven
- Mummy and Daddy hate me
- Daddy and Mummy don’t love me anymore
Hugging increases the bonding hormone oxytocin, allowing the child to bond back together with the parent again after receiving the punishment. Hugs also help to reduce the stress that they encounter while receiving the punishment. All the crying and begging not to be punished release lots of stress hormones that require the release of hormones like oxytocin to counter the negative effects.
When we hug our child affectionately after a punishment, the child will feel a sense of acceptance by the parent again and not be left to self-doubt and self-blame. This sense of acceptance is very important in affecting their overall growth and development.
A child who feels accepted and loved develops better learning ability as compared to a child who feels unaccepted and unloved. This is because the child is able to boost his self-esteem and confidence from feeling good about himself as well as his environment regardless of the mistakes that he may make. This thus helps the child develop the confidence to tackle the world’s challenges and not be afraid to make mistakes.
Don’t be afraid to mete out punishments, just remember to wrap it up with a warm and affectionate hug to encourage a positive environment for optimal growth and development.
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