Wholeness Healing Today

Don’t Touch Me!

Let’s talk touch. So many children never receive enough appropriate touch so have difficulties developing healthy relationships in their lives. And the kids who hate to be touched the most need it the most! So how do you get a child interested in hugging and allowing touch? You teach him to trust the touch by having fun!

First for some silly touch and a few of my favorites:

I love whipped cream in the spray can. You can use it to paint mustaches, as cement between Legos, or even to fill up truck boxes to be eaten out of with “shovels” (spoons). The key to any use of whipped cream is for the parent to be in charge of the can, spraying it on the child, in the child’s mouth, up the child’s arm. A mess you say? Yes, but if the parent is sitting on the floor with the child, the closeness will be worth the mess. Resistance? Of course? These are kids who cringe when touched and rarely allow themselves the freedom of belly-laughter.

As a painting tool the can Can do so much! Mom can use it like a paintbrush, painting the most creative faces on the child: mustaches, beards, even pimples, all while laughing and creating a story to go along with the disguise.

As a building tool, mom sits with the child and begins building with the Lego blocks. Then she reaches behind her, brings forth the can of whipped cream, shoots it on the Lego, puts them together, smiles at child, shoots the whipped creme into her mouth, and goes on building. A few minutes later she repeats the process, only after shooting into her mouth, she also shoots into the child’s, winking at him and gradually scooting closer while building. This can be a good experience for both if the parent does not worry about the mess, too many calories from the wrong place, or the sticky Legoes (they can be placed in the dishwasher later).

Another of my favorites is BUBBLES! Child and parent each get a bottle of bubbles and stand inside a Hoola hoop. Then the contest begins: each blows bubbles at the other without stepping out of the circle. It will be messy but there is no way to move around the hoop without touching each other. This touch is usually non-threatening, as the child will be more concerned about the “war” instead of the touch.

Twister. This can be mom and child or the whole family. This is a good game for touching without being directed. And to liven it up, put on some Beach Boy music and mom dances while doing it. For children who remain resistant, create a party atmosphere and wear colorful clothes, hats, or glasses while doing this.

I also think that many fun times can be incorporated into the chore routine. Robin Williams made housework fun by dancing with the vacuum while pretending to be the nanny. There is no reason why every parent can’t do the same. Children who come from neglectful and abusive pasts have had little to smile about, so having fun may be alien. In order for them to begin to feel comfortable about touch, they must begin to see that life is fun. Parents should also begin to enjoy their children more if all are laughing and becoming more relaxed and comfortable around each other.

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  • Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
    Licensed Professional Counselor
    Advanced Clinical HypnoTherapist

  • Deb England began working part-time for Wholeness Healing Center in September 2004 and began full-time in May 2005. Deb practices primarily in the Broken Bow office and one day a week in the Grand Island office. Previously she had completed her practicum and internship at Morning Star Alliance, working in the Broken Bow and Grand Island offices.


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