The Secrets Of Physical Contact And Eye Contact

Michael Meaney, an emminent psychologist at the Douglas Hospital Research Center at McGill University in Montreal, demonstrated that touching baby rats during the first few weeks of life results in development of receptors that control the production of glucocorticoids. These are very powerful stress chemicals that cause a multitude of problems, including impaired growth and damage to brain cells. Meaney’s first child was born, and in early childhood he made a point to hug her more than he otherwise would have. Our evidence, he was quoted as saying, suggests that the hugging I give my daughter today will help her lead a happier, healthier life. My touch may be shaping her future. How about that? The article that this experiment was quoted in also pointed out that the caring touch of nurses and loved ones can do wonders for hospitalized patients, relieving anxiety and tension headaches and sometimes reducing rapid heartbeat and heart arrhythmias. When our son David was eight, he played Peanut League Baseball at school. During the games I especially enjoyed watching one father who had discovered the secrets of eye and physical contact. Frequently, his son would run up to tell him something. It was obvious that there was a strong affectionate bond between the two of them. As they talked, their eye contact was direct and any without hesitation. And their communication included much appropriate physical contact, especially when one of them said something funny.

Tell It Like  It Is

Tell It Like It Is

This father would frequently lay his hand on his son’s arm, or put his arm around his son’s shoulder and sometimes lovingly slap him on the knee. Occasionally, he would pat him on the back or pull the child toward him, especially when a humorous comment was made. At times, this same father’s young teenage daughter would come to watch her brother play. She would sit with her father, either at his side or directly in front of him. Here again, this caring and knowledgeable father related to his daughter in an appropriate manner. He frequently would lightly touch her hand, arm, shoulder, or back. Now and then he would tap her on the knee or briefly put his arm around her shoulder and lightly jerk her toward him, especially when something funny happened. We need to incorporate physical and eye contact in all of our everyday dealings with our children. Appropriate and frequent eye and physical contact are two of the most precious gifts we can give our children. Unfortunately, Tom’s parents had not discovered the secret of physical and eye contact at that time. They misused eye contact. Smith believed boys should be treated as young men.

Another Brick In The Wall

They felt affection would feminize Tom into being a sissy. Smith also thought that as a boy gets more older, his need for affection, especially physical affection, ceases. Actually a boy’s need for physical contact never ceases, even though the type of physical contact he needs does change. Research shows that girl infants less than 12 months old receive five times as much physical affection as boys. Psychiatric clinics around the country see five to six times as many boys as girls. This ratio changes dramatically during adolescence. It’s apparent, then, how important it is for a boy to receive just as much or more affection as a girl during the early years. As a boy grows and becomes older, his need for physical affection such as hugging and kissing lessens, but his need for physical contact does not. These ways of making physical contact with a boy are just as genuine a means of giving attention as hugging and kissing. Don’t forget that a child never outgrows the need for both types. As my boys, who are now grown, got older, they became less and less receptive to holding, hugging, and kissing. There were still times when they needed and wanted it, and I had to be alert in order to give it to them every chance I got.

Under The Thumb

Moments that are especially meaningful to a child, so meaningful that the child will never forget them? These are the moments your child will recall when he or she is in the throes of deepest adolescence, when a teenager is in the conflict of rebellion on one hand versus affection for his parents on the other. The more special memories the child has, the stronger he will be able to stand against adolescent turmoil in later years. These precious opportunities are limited in number. A child quickly passes from one stage to the next, and before we know it, opportunities to give what he or she needs have come and gone. A somber thought, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you agree? It’s easier to give affection to a boy when he is younger, especially around 12 to 18 months of age. As he grows older, however, it becomes more difficult. One reason, as mentioned before, is the false assumption that physical display of affection is feminine. The reason is that most boys become less appealing to people as they grow older. In order to give a young boy what he must have emotionally, we as parents must recognize these unpleasant feelings in ourselves, resist them, and go ahead with what we must do as mothers and fathers. Let’s now discuss the needs of girls in relation to physical contact. Girls generally do not display as much directness as boys to emotional deprivation during their first seven or eight years. In other words, they do not make their needs for affection so evident. But the girls seem better able to cope and are less affected by the lack of emotional nurturing prior to adolescence. Don’t let this fool you. Although girls don’t show their misery as much when they are younger, they suffer intensely when not properly cared for emotionally. It becomes quite evident as they grow older, especially during adolescence. One reason for this lies in this matter of physical contact. The younger the boy, the more vital affectionate contact is to him. What a critical age!