It's 8:00 p.m. and I just put my beautiful Ariane to bed. Bathing, brushing hair and teeth. Big hug and good night. “Yes, but dad, you forgot my petting! But where was my head?
Certainly, I can count on my 7-year-old to remind me of our daily ritual. To tell you the importance for both of us of this moment spent together. Some time ago, one evening when I was tired from my day, I put Ariane to bed and simply told her that Dad was tired and that he would do the flattouilles the next day. Without waiting, Ariane answered me in a questioning and worried tone: “But daddy, don’t you love me anymore? Oops, the message had been very badly received, but it showed me how much her flattouilles as she calls them were important to her. Needless to say that it was enough for me to feel a little adrenaline rising in me and for her to receive her much desired caresses.
But what about these privileged moments, this parental kinesthetic contact and its impacts?
You may find it odd coming from a massage therapy teacher that I tell you that technique really isn't the most important thing. What matters most is the quality ofour presence with the child. Admittedly, the technique facilitates contact, but beyond this fact, it is interpersonal skills before knowledge and know-how that must dominate. The technique enriches the moment and changes us from the routine. But what your child will take away from his petting is above all your comforting presence.
As such, I cannot advise you enough to slow down the speed of your maneuvers. When falling asleep, we talk more about flattotherapy than anything else. In fact, the slower the contact is progressively, the easier it will make the transition to sleep. You will be surprised how pleasant it becomes to massage slowly. We ourselves feel inhabited by a great relaxation. Maybe you'll unwind from your long day yourself.
As for technique, do not hesitate to ask your child about his preferences. Ariane likes slow back scratches or skin-deep effleurages. And what about his appreciation of the massage of his ear contour? I can already hear the questions. Isn't that a bit too… sultry? Where is my limit? What will it be like when she's a little older? etc.
Yes, it's true, these questions challenge us. They refer us more often to our own experience than that of our children for whom these moments are emotional nourishment. It's up to you to see and respect your limits like those of your child. Becoming a parent also means asking ourselves what we have or have not received during our own childhood. It is realizing that wemay need help becoming the parent you want to be.
As with all other issues, I always rely on communication to clarify the situation. It is precisely the absence of communication that leaves room for all kinds of interpretation by the person left behind. I remember, then a massage therapy student, the story of a student friend about her relationship with her father. He who had always been close to his daughter during his youth, had quite abruptly cut touch in his father-daughter relationship. My friend told me how it affected her greatly.
Luckily, our values and our ways of doing things are changing in the light of studies that confirm the importance of touch for young and old. Not so long ago it was forbidden to touch a premature baby placed in an incubator. Now, the kangaroo method asks the father and the mother to place their child skin to skin on you. It has been noticed that in these children a faster weight gain and a lower level of stress hormone. In one study with baby monkeys, they had the choice of going to a spit doll that had a bottle of milk or going to a softer rag doll, but no food. The baby monkeys preferred the soft doll that was more like their mother.
The next step I'm working on now is to bring massage to elementary school where kids are taught to massage each other. It's withpleasure that I will tell you about it a little later. Until then, I invite you to this beautiful communion that is massage. No need for big maneuvers. Even without movement, the contact is established, the current passes. You can do light hand compressions and release. Massaging the feet for children who are less "touchy" can be an interesting avenue.
Like every time I finish, Ariane raises her little finger and points to me with her index finger, “a little bit more S. T. P. »! How to refuse! Good massage.