Questions And Answers with Dr. Tim Jordan
We know that building a strong trusting relationship with your Little will take time and patience. Many volunteers face similar challenges and roadblocks when getting to know their Little. In an effort to help you build a stronger relationship with your Little we have elicited help from Dr. Jordan, a Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician. Every quarter, we will highlight a common concern and give you professional feedback from the desk of Dr. Jordan.
Meet Dr. Tim Jordan
Tim Jordan ,M.D., is a Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician, an international speaker and an author. Dr. Jordan is dedicated and passionate about serving children whether it is in his private practice counseling children, teenagers and parents; speaking to businesses and organizations; teaching weekend retreats or hosting his own radio show called "Families First". He also runs personal growth weekend retreats and summer camps for kids and teens called Camp Weloki. He enjoys the diversity of his work and aims to be a national spokesperson for children in our country. On top of all that, he is an outstanding supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters serving on our Board for 6 years and previously volunteering his time as a Big Brother. For more information on his practice, click on http://www.weloki.com.
Dear Dr. Jordan
My Little is very physical towards me. He frequently jumps on my back for piggy back rides and often wants to wrestle. What are acceptable ways that we can interact without him invading my space or me being put in an awkward situation? How would I talk to my Little about this subject?
I think keeping good space boundaries with Little's can be a challenge. Some kids have not learned about respecting other people's personal space, or they can even have some sensory issues where they truly don't pick up on other's space or their cues that say that you are getting too close. Some kids can also be a bit impulsive and active like the Little you are describing. They leap without thinking!
In a kind and respectful way, I think it would be really valuable to let your Little know what feels safe to you and what does not. That kind of information is important for ANYONE in their life, including with friends and someday with dating relationships. Everyone has their own personal space and boundaries, and it would be great for you to model that for them. Be clear and then follow through with giving them feedback when they respect your boundaries and when they do not.
You can also have a conversation about appropriate ways to connect, some of which may involve touching...ie like holding hands while crossing a street, or high fives. Connecting can also include making eye contact when talking, being a good listener, and being kind and compassionate. Again, these are all good life and relationship lessons for your Little.
Being clear up front about boundaries means there is no need for feeling uncomfortable in setting them at any time. It is a way of being close and honest with each other. One way that BBBSEMO has addressed this issue is to add some parameters about personal space and touch to the match agreement form that all new matches sign. It reads, " We understand the need for personal space and that certain types of touch are not permitted, such as back rubs, sitting on laps, wrestling, and tickling." You can communicate that these are rules in place for their safety. Of course, these rules are also there to ensure your safety! That way both of you can relax and enjoy your time together!
Warmest wishes, Tim Jordan M.D.
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Are you a Little, Parent, or Big Volunteer? Please contact us if you have comments, questions, or other ideas regarding this topic. Please be aware that all responses will not be posted. Responses that are not posted will be answered by your Relationship Specialist.