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Sally Strackbein

Geraldo Rivera’s special, “Smashed: Kids and Alcohol,” featured a young girl who had started drinking at a very young, preteen age. It showed a home video of her acting very drunk. I’m sure she must have looked like a silly child to someone watching who didn’t know she was drunk. Apparently, this little girl would take a little bit of liquor from each of several bottles, so the missing alcohol wouldn’t be noticed. She continued drinking for years. There are two possibilities here: her parents didn’t know or her parents knew and looked the other way.

Let’s assume her parents didn’t know she was drinking.

Drunk people smell like alcohol. The fact that her parents didn’t know she was drinking regularly tells a common story. No one hugged this little girl. She went to bed each and every night without the comfort of human touch. No one hugged her. If someone had hugged her each day, they would have smelled the alcohol and could have done something to help her at the beginning. But no one hugged her.

    Parents know there is a time when children no longer sit on laps. Some parents stop hugging their children around that same time. But children still need to be hugged. Every human being needs to be touched.

Geraldo interviewed college students, too. Some said they drank to feel better. They drank to lose their inhibitions so they could connect with their friends. They either didn’t feel comfortable connecting sober or didn’t know how to.

Kids connect in unhealthy ways because they don’t know how to connect in healthy ways. Instead, they reach out for alcohol, drugs or sex. What they really want is human connection. They want to be touched. They want to be loved. And they want to be understood. They also want limits. They may not know what they want or how to ask for it, but they respond to adults who make an effort to connect with them.

    Do you hug your children every day. Do you hug your teenagers? Do you hug your little boy?

What, he won’t let you?

Yes he will. Here’s how:

  1. Find something good he did.
  2. Compliment him on the good behavior.
  3. Hug him while telling him what a good job he did.
  4. Make it a short hug.
  5. Keep doing this until you can hug for no reason at all.
  6. Hug from love, not because you want to smell your child to check for alcohol.
  7. Do it every day and work up to a good solid hug at least once a day.

Hug everyone you care about. Touch connects. Touch heals.

    Hug, hug, hug!

© Sally Strackbein

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