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The Power of Touch In Parenting
Episode 4218th May 2022 • The 6570 Family Project • Nellie Harden
00:00:00 00:24:38

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There are “touchy” people and “non-touchy” people, but the fact is physical contact is important in the human experience, and diving in and getting curious about how we feel about touch is important. So often the aversions are from childhood traumas and dramas and exploring the emotional healing is just as important, and probably more so than the physical healing.

 

This week we dive into all the ways you can use touch as a parent to help convey your love, understanding, and support even during the hard conversations.

About the Host:

Nellie Harden is a wife of 20+ years, mom to 4 teen/tween daughters, dreamer, adventurer, servant, multipreneur, forever student, and a devoted teacher, but her ride-or-die passion is her work as a Family Life Coach & Mentor. 

Coming from a career background in marine mammal sciences, behavioral work, and a host of big life experiences, both great and not some not so great, she decided that designing a life of purpose and freedom was how she and her husband, along with their 4 daughters, wanted to live. 

Her work and passions exist in the realms of family and parent mentorship because she believes that a family filled with creativity, fun, laughter, challenge, adventure, problem-solving, hugs, good food, and learning can not only change a person’s life but is the best chance at positively changing the world. 

She helps families build Self-Led Discipline™ & Leadership Into their homes, sets their children up for a wildly successful life on their terms, and elevates the family experience with big joy, palpable peace, and everyday growth!

With a lifelong passion and curiosity in thought, choice, behavior, and growth she has found incredible joy in helping families shift perspective, find answers, and a path forward.

 

(Nellie has been coaching families for over 10 years and has degrees in Biology, Animal Behavior and Psychology. ) 

 

LINKS:

Family Success Vault- https://www.nellieharden.com/vault

Website- https://www.nellieharden.com

Online Community- https://www.facebook.com/groups/the6570project

Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/nellieharden/   

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/nellie.harden/

 

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Transcripts

Nellie Harden:

Hello and welcome to the 6570 family project

Nellie Harden:

podcast. If you are a parent of a tween teen or somewhere on the

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way, this is exactly the place for you. This is the playground

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for parents who want to raise their kids with intention,

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strength and joy. Come and hear all the discussions, get all the

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tactics and have lots of laughs along the way. We will dive into

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the real challenges and raising kids today how to show up as

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parents and teach your kids how to show up as members of the

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family and individuals of the world. My name is Mellie Hardin,

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big city girl turn small town sipping iced tea on the front

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porch mama, who loves igniting transformation in the hearts and

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minds of families by helping them build self love, discipline

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and leadership that elevate the family experience, and sets the

Nellie Harden:

kids up with a rock solid foundation, they can launch

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their life on all before they ever leave home. This is the

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6570 family project. Let's go Hello, everyone. Welcome to

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another episode of the 6570 family project podcast where we

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are putting aside the power struggles and finding the path

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to lead our young women toward the confidence, respect and

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wisdom that they need to prepare themselves for the world out

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there. You guys, we are getting so close to our 50th episode.

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I'm very, very excited about this. This is episode 42. I

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can't believe that we have made it this far. And had so many

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amazing talks covered so many great topics, and had so many

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amazing guests. And we still have so much further to go in

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season one. So today I want to talk to you about touch the

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power of touch. And you're like why? Why is this even a topic?

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Oh, it is so in depth you guys, I can't wait to dive into this

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with you. I mean, think about it. The history of touch I mean

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a handshake, even right greeting somebody, all the different

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kinds of handshakes, that there are different cultures,

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different communities, a handshake a hug, right? That

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first time that you see or feel your child you embrace them,

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when they are we little right? It's not that they are born or

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they are given to you in adoption, and you just let them

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sit over there. Right? You embrace them. It is that

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physical touch, it is so important there is that kangaroo

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care even for NICU babies, right, that shows what touch

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does. And we'll get into some of those physiological effects in

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just a few minutes. But babies crave touch. When ever we are

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having some time in our home where there's some turbulence or

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something needs to be addressed. Or there's some heavy subjects

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happening in the world or family. You know, we get into a

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circle and we are sharing we share with each other, we might

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hold hands, we might just be close to one another. But

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there's that touch piece that is in there. In religion and faith.

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I've been in part of so many prayers where people are laying

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it's called the laying of hands, right? You're laying hands on

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people, there's someone in the middle, and you are laying a

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group of people around them or laying or just one person laying

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hands on them to have that energy. I actually tried out a

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new church

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just a couple of weeks ago, and we went in and it was we were

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out of town. So we were just visiting a new church while we

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were out of town. And the woman at the new guest booth or

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whatever asked if we had any prayers and I had lost my voice.

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I'm still a little croaky from that. But that's okay. I had

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lost my voice. And so she immediately she put one hand on

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my back one hand on my upper chest and just started praying

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over me. It was that touch and it just meant so much and you've

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got to get through the uncomfortable barrier because,

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you know, a stranger coming up to you and getting in your

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personal space. But it was also such a beautiful, tender and

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loving thing that she was doing and praying over me for my voice

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and so and then you think about things like Reiki right? Reiki

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is if you've never heard about it, it is an energy healing

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technique that actually promotes relaxation, reduces stress and

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anxiety through yes touch Reiki practitioners, they actually use

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their hands to deliver energy into the body and improves flow

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and balance of energies in support and healing. So my point

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is in all these different arenas All these different cultures,

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all these different ideas, faiths and and practices, touch

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is so important. I know that when I am having a an in depth

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conversation, usually a hard discussion with one of my girls,

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then we do need a knee conversations, that is both of

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us on the floor on a bed, but usually on the floor a little

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bit more stable. And we're crisscross applesauce, right,

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our knees are folded and our knees are touching, it's a knee

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to knee conversation. So this can happen a lot of times if

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there is

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some issue some friction that is between you and your daughter,

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you and your child. And you're like, Okay, well, we just need

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to get close enough that we are need a knee, I want you to see

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that I am looking at you. And then I'm looking in your eyes

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and that I am being completely truth in trust right now. Right.

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And so knee to knee conversations. Sometimes after a

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little while, I'll just put my hands out and like an upward,

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my, my palms upward and more of a surrender, motion and slowly

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but surely a hand, like it'll touch fingers and then a handle

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go. And hopefully by the end of the conversation, we're also

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holding hands as well as needed me and looking at one another.

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And we're healing through that process. So much of that healing

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comes through touch. Eye contact, we already talked,

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talked about hand holding. I mean, think about couples, when

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they're just starting out, right? You're holding hands, it

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is that touch, it's so important. cuddles with your

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kids. And humans are just built for physical interaction. Now,

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that being said, I want to be very respectful and cognizant of

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those people out there that are not, you know, quote unquote,

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touchy people, right? Or maybe you have a child that just does

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not want like to be touched does not want to be touched. Now

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there is clinical there is autism spectrum, right, that has

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a sensory issues and things. And that is that is one category.

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And I'm not touching on that today. I'm just talking about

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the emotional side of I don't like to be touched. I don't want

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to be touched on I like to be touched, right? And those can

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those lines between sensory issues and the emotional issues

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can certainly be blurred and something worth being curious

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about. But that is what we need to do. We need to be curious

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about that. If someone says me, I'm not Teddy touchy person. I

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don't really like that. And just be curious of why if that is you

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be curious of why? Why am I not that way? Just speaking in here,

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it reminded me of Oh, the engagement or the proposal,

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right? Such a funny movie. I love it. Sandra Bullock, Ryan

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Reynolds, the proposal and she in the beginning, she's like,

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not a techy person, don't touch me. I don't like it. I'm not a

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techy person, I think and she, of course, is a touchy person.

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And yes, this is Hollywood. But this is my point she had a lot

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of that character had a lot of built up tension, anxiety,

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emotional walls, etc. So be curious about that. Right. And

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also, if you can be touchy with one person, but not another,

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maybe with one child more than another, or maybe you can hug

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one friend, but you can't hug another, you know, type of

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thing. That's another thing to be curious about. And it is most

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likely most likely due to trauma or drama, or both in your

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childhood. And if we're talking about our children, it is

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obviously within their childhood. If we're talking

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about parents, then it is in our childhood, usually as well. Not

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always, but many, many times. And this is a place to work

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through. I have been there. I have completely been there with

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trauma and drama in my past and it made me extremely sensitive

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to touch. I mean, any kind of touch from any other adult not

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my kids necessarily but any other adult I was extremely

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sensitive to tapping on my shoulder and arm like a hand on

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my elbow. Just anything I was extremely like my anxiety. My

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heart rate went sky high as soon as somebody touched me so know

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that I'm coming out of a place of understanding and

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commiseration here when I'm talking about this and I get it

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I get you. But I also know the road to recovery and healing

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through touch is very, very important. And no one wants to

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leave that alone. In the life of always being on edge, always

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having that anxiety, and also being alone and not being able

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to have all the benefits of that touch as well. It's one of the

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most important areas to heal. And remember, humans are

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communal species, we are not meant to be alone, our brains

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are literally wired to crave interaction, even if there's

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this thick blanket of trauma on top of it, we need to work

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through that in order to get to our root needs and wants. So

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when you walk into, you know, your child comes home, and

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they're all wound up, and they don't want to be touched. And I

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encourage you to just start somewhere. So it's, you know,

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sit at the end of their bed, or sit on the end of the couch and

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just touch their foot. Right. And it sounds weird, it might

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sound gross, you know, whatever. But it is that inkling of a

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touch, right? Just touch, maybe you're not even that far, just

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get close, so that they can feel your presence, work toward that

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touch, right? Somewhere, just touch you know, somewhere a hand

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of foot, just their back their shoulder, somewhere where it's

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okay for them, and ask if it's okay for them, especially if

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they have touch issues, right, and then move forward with

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respect and intention and caution with that. But starting

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the healing process with touch, as a as a person and knowing

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that I this is something I need to work on. And also as a

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parent, knowing that this is something you want your child to

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be able to work on, because you don't want your child going

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through life. And just telling everybody don't touch me, don't

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touch me, that's an anxiety field. That is not good for

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anyone, certainly not for them. And certainly not for the people

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that are around them either. And you want them to experience life

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to the fullest at their best selves. And that's going to

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include people touching them, sometimes a hug, a handshake, a,

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you know, pat on the back, and even more in relationships down

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the line. So psychologically, I wanted to I'm sorry,

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physiologically, I wanted to get into this a little bit to about

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what touch does. So it activates the body's vagus nerve. So you

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guys know, if you've been listening to me for all these 42

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episodes, or even a handful of them. I am a psychology and

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biology nerd. So I love it all. Okay, so touch activates the

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body's vagus nerve, which is intimately connected with our

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compassionate response. All right, I want to read that

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again. And or say that again, because it's so important. Touch

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activates the body's vagus nerve, which is intimately

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connected with our compassionate response. Okay, so the vagus

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nerve, it's a pair of nerves that actually goes from the

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brain to the belly, that goes along the heart as well. So it

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passes all these vital systems in your body that are

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intricately laced with nerves. And research has shown that it

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takes eight to 10 meaningful touches a day to maintain

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physical and emotional health. So is your child getting that

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eight to 10 meaningful touches a day? And studies show that touch

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signals or touches signals, safety and trust and it soothes

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right? It goes right back to our, our ancestral, our very

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basic needs of being a child that being cared for being able

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to be in someone's trusted arms. Okay. And then hugging we're,

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you know, we've been accused of being the hardened huggers

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before so especially my husband and my husband is a big, like a

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big hugger, like a big big hugger. And so much so that I

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love hugging too. But sometimes if we go up to people, and my

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husband envelops them in this big hug, I'm like, Well, I can't

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suffocate them with my hugs. So I'm just gonna let them off the

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hook this time. But yeah, so hugging is another form. And

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it's, of course, it's noncentral. It's between

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friends. It's between lots of people, colleagues, when you go

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to meet someone for the first time, sometimes depending on the

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circumstance, right? So hugging causes our brains to release

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oxytocin. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone you guys. So

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hugging, which is a physical bond creates oxytocin, which is

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a chemical bond to create an emotional bond, okay, physical

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bond, chemical bond, emotional bond, and this stimulates the

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release of other are great feel good hormones like dopamine and

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serotonin and reduces those stress hormones like cortisol

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and norepinephrine. So when we are hugging when we hug our

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child, they're coming home, they're frazzled, they have the

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teen and tween, you know, crazy, Storm stormy brain going on,

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they don't know which way is up. If they can be hugged, it can

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bring down those stress hormones bring up the good hormones, and

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they can start to see and settle the dust dust storm that's

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inside of their head. But if they're not ready for that, we

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need to move in that direction. Again, just with some sort of

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touch, a little bit of touch, you know, rubbing, rubbing a

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foot, rubbing a hand on something on you know, their

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shoulder, whatever that is, but helping them understand that

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touch from you is safe touch from you is good, and that they

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are in a safe and loving place. And then we can start to

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literally change their brain chemistry with that touch.

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Lastly, I told you guys I was a I was a biology psychology nerd.

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Met some of you might know, I'm also a quantum quantum physics

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nerd. I just love science, I love all the sciences, I can sit

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and talk science all day, we had people over to the house last

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night. And we went from talking quantum physics to relativity

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and Cosmos and emotional, physiological health, to talking

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about, you know, flowers and biology and everything. So I can

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talk all day when it comes to sciences Love it, love it love

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it, it is the root cause and the manifestation of it. That's

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what, that's what it is. So anyway, talking at the atomic

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level, okay, I'll only spend a minute here don't don't get

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uncomfortable. Talking at the atomic level, there is atomic

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evidence of what happens, the energy shifts the electrons,

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zooming across all of these protons and neutrons and our

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atoms, and how they are literally sharing energies and

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bouncing around, right. Being in a space, there's a great book, I

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think I've brought it up before called the Mingo shaped space.

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And it's about synesthesia, and the different ways that that

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manifests in people's bodies, and it's just really fun to say

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synesthesia, right? And but this this young girl, she didn't know

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what was going on. She was a teenage young girl. And she,

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when someone clapped, she would see a color when someone was

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somewhere and they got up to leave, they would leave like a

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color imprint where they weren't. And this is this is

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real, like Google it. This, this happens to people and it's all

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about these energy traces. And some people are more sensitive

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to it than others but and mango shaped space. You know what, I'm

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not gonna give away the book, because I hope that you go read

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it. And it's it's not. It's a book for teens and tweens,

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young, young women and young men. And so I just read it, it's

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so good. It's very heartfelt So, but when I was talking the other

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day about I was in an interview talking about being in shared

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spaces, with your kids and being able to traverse into their

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room, which sometimes can have this emotional, sometimes

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physical wall in front of it.

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Going into their room and being your your child being able to

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see that their room is a safe place where love exists between

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parent and child, and where they're accepted and loved. And

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I said love can leave a shadow of an imprint in a space. And it

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just, it kind of took us aback and took us down a conversation

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when we were in that when I was speaking there. But keep that in

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mind. Love can leave a shadow of an imprint in a space, and the

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love that you share with your child through touch and through

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being with one another. And those conversations, those need

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any conversations, right? It leaves an imprint there and it

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could be felt later on. So I hope today brought you a little

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closer. Maybe you'll go and look and look and feel about touch a

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little differently than you have before. But when it comes to the

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parent child bond especially and when it comes to raising our

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teens and tweens to understand the power of touch, it really is

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important to not close the door on this and just say oh, they

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don't like to be touched. And so we're just going to leave it the

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way it is. It's important to explore that And if you do have

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a child that is somewhere on, you know, that beautiful

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spectrum of autism or what have you, and they have sensory

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issues. And I know one of my children definitely has sensory

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issues that we dealt with a lot when she was younger. Dealing

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with that and working with any therapist or anything that you

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have that as onboard as third party, help in your in your

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case, then I really encourage you to work on touch and just

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little by little intention, love, grace, forgiveness,

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patience, work on the touch, it is so worth it. Okay, you guys,

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I hope you learned a little something today. Got a little

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something out of today. And we're going to be back next week

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with another episode. Keep teaching, keep laughing keep

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loving you guys, this is our 6570 parenthood childhood

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journey and they need you. Alright, I'll see you next week.

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Thank you so much for listening today. And I hope you were able

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to take something from our discussion that you can use to

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build the foundation of self love leadership in your own

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family. If you are a parent with children, 17 or younger, and

Nellie Harden:

especially those around nine and up, I would love to extend an

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invitation to you to the best club in town. The family

Nellie Harden:

architects Club is a private club where intentional parents

Nellie Harden:

go that want to love support, connect or reconnect and really

Nellie Harden:

truly help guide their kids and teach them how to self leave in

Nellie Harden:

discipline and leadership. This is an online community and the

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you are welcome to it. Parenting is a project and you are the

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architect of this one. You plan you design and oversee the

Nellie Harden:

construction of the beginning of someone else's life. And that's

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what goes into these first 6570 days. And it will be the

Nellie Harden:

foundation for the rest of their lives. So come join the club.

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You can find your invitation on the front page of my website

Nellie Harden:

Nelly hardin.com. That is N E ll ie H AR d e n.com. Thank you

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again for being a part of this conversation today. And if

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something really resonated with you, or if you have a question,

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please don't hesitate to connect with me. You can find me on

Nellie Harden:

Instagram at Nelly Hardin. And lastly, if you love the

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information, please please leave a five star review and a comment

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so more and more families can be impacted by harnessing the

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strength of these ideas and tools in their own families. So

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thank you so much. Happy building you guys and I'll see

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