Skill requires practice.
I had a friend ask for ideas, I’m generalizing here for anyone it might help.
Kiddo asks parent for proprioceptive input.
Parent either can’t or can only offer some input.
Kiddo can’t handle the refusal – they already are disregulated and needing input, so they escalate.
My suggestions came from my experience:
1 One, it’s ok to have boundaries, and the less someone respects your boundaries, the bigger the boundaries have to be.
I’ve described it like the following distance when driving – if someone in front of you or behind you is tailgaiting, you need a larger following distance. That way if the person in front crashes from tailgaiting you have time to brake. If the person behind is too close then you also need time to brake slowly so they don’t hit you like they would if you had to stop suddenly.
What this looks like is stopping your kiddo farther away and asking them to slow down and ask first. If they are too disregulated to respect the boundaries, then you know to take action to protect yourself and help them get regulated. For example my personal bubble with the kiddo is my head and my back, if he wants to go behind me he has to ask, and if he wants to touch my face he has to ask, and if he wants to give me a hug, he doesn’t have to ask unless he’s trying to come up behind me.
2 Two, if they are asking for input you can’t give, try to give them or help them get the input they need. I’ll offer “squeezies” – a big bear hug, “squishies” – squishing the kiddo between me and a counter/wall/etc. or “jumpies” – holding hands and the kiddo jumps while pushing down on my hands, similar to holding a gym bar or pushing down on a counter or table and jumping.
In this case kiddo wanted what we call “shoulder bup” – sitting on shoulders. The two alternatives I thought of was doing a piggy back and then leaning against the wall to take some of the weight off or doing the shoulder bup with leaning back so that most of the kiddo’s weight ends up on the back of the seat if available.
If those aren’t options, a headstand or handstand might help or the other types of input mentioned. Another one we like is “Timber!” where they call that and you are a tree that then falls down on them – usually sitting side by side and leaning into them.
I can’t find the article, but when the kiddo was biting more, I remember reading that you can’t tell a child not to bite when they are flooded (Gottman term for the amygdala being in charge), and just telling them not to bite when they are calm doesn’t work – they can’t remember in the heat of the moment. You have to role play appropriate responses.
Like training for martial arts so that when you are in fight/flight/freeze your automatic reflexes take over.
We have a policy that once calm and we’ve figured out what the problem was, we have to roleplay a healthier/more adaptive method at least 3 times so that those neural pathways are reinforced more than the maladaptive ones that were defaulted to. And for really big things like hitting or biting we do at least 5 – and include variations. Basically the “What Would Danny Do?” (there is a Darla one out now too) books, but instead acting them out and using our situations. We also tell (and keep meaning to write up) “choose your own adventure” versions – the first is what actually happened and why, and then we come up with two or three more other options and results.
This can also help with theory of mind and empathy. It is the reason that pretend play is so important and if it doesn’t come naturally, it should get modeled. The Hot Wheels City videos on YouTube actually helped us with that. The kiddo didn’t like watching real life people but that one only shows the hands using toys to do pretend play.