Motherly Walls and Brick Hugs

I was reading something today about hugging, not general hugging, but actually the way people use hugging in therapy for Autistic children, it can seem quite a bullying technique. It made me think however, about how my dad used to force hugs on me, not the friendly fatherly kind, but the kind that pulled me close to him because he had an erection and he thought it was amusing to tease me in such a way so that I was squirming to get away from him in case he did something.

I don’t think I ever got a real hug from my parents. When I am looking to blame myself for childhood events, often people tell me that children crave affection and that they need love and hugs. This is one of those things I’ve tried to understand, because with my parents and their abuse, sometimes I went to my dad. When I have said this before I have been told that it was because I was starved of affection and it was the only way I could get any. I’ve never really believed that was the reason. I don’t remember being starved for affection, I know I didn’t get any, I just don’t remember thinking yep I want a hug, so I’ll go and let my dad sexually abuse me.

Today though whilst reading about this hugging therapy and that children need hugs for whatever reason, perhaps it’s just because I am nearing the end of Dear Teddy 3.5, but suddenly I remembered a child that would hug a wall or the door frames. At night when I didn’t feel very well I would hug myself up against the wall and cry and try to get some comfort from it. At school when no one could see me I would lean against the cold bricks and hug them too, putting my small fingers into the gaps between the bricks and closing my eyes, or when my mother couldn’t see me and I was in the dining room once again having been punished for whatever I had done, I would hug the wall between that room and the kitchen. Concrete_wall

I realise I actually still do it now. When I am sad or upset I lean against the wall so the side of my face touches, I stand so that the frame of the door fits against my shoulder and I can lean my head against it. It’s always been soothing me. My children ask what I am doing when I have stopped hallway down the stairs and I’m just leaning against the post.

I guess I don’t remember being starved for affection because I found a way to replace it. The wall.

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Children Abusers

Do you have siblings? Had friends when you were small? Did you fall out with them? Hit them? Be mean to them? Normal children’s behaviour right?

How often do we see children bickering and pushing each other, nipping and biting. I have a granddaughter in her terrible toddler phase. She bites, she kicks and as she does it she laughs. Is she evil for this? A bad child? No, she is simply a two year old being a child and pushing boundaries. She is just a child and her innocence protects her.

What about in five years’ time? She’ll be seven. What if she has a sibling them who she chooses to pick on? Takes delight in making them cry? Or a school friend she falls out with and kicks in some childish temper tantrum? doll

Granted she’d be told off, reprimanded in some way, or least we would hope so to teach her right from wrong. As with all children the chance of her acting that way again is likely, and again she will be reprimanded and told that her actions are wrong. It’s how children learn.

Any parent reading or someone with experience of children probably agrees that this is just normal childish behaviour, children being naughty nothing more and as adults it’s our job to teach them right from wrong. Age her again, perhaps to ten or eleven this time. Are her actions still wrong? Picking on a younger sibling, does that make her evil? Hitting someone at school, would that make her potentially a threat when she is an adult? I don’t think so. Perhaps something would need to be looked at if it was excessive as to why she was acting this way, but as a society, we would brush this behaviour off as a child being just that, a child.

It’s not the child’s fault right?

What if a ten year old child coerces another child into a sexual act? What if a child subjects another child to watching pornographic scenes or films or even talking about it? What if a ten year old child were to have sex with another child? What if a child raped another child?

Do we say the child is sick? Because the act is different than just violence, do we point at the child and say they should have known these acts were wrong? They should have known not to do that? Do we label them sexual abusers or predators? What if sexual abuse is all the child knows and they are merely acting out what they have been taught? Because they haven’t been taught sexual abuse is wrong. So is what they are doing actually wrong?

Why does society accept children being violent and mean and dismiss it as children being children, yet sexual acts, we have the makings of a sexual monster. Isn’t it just the same?
Can children be sexual abusers in the same context that and adult can?