My son is very free with his hands. He doesn't like to be touched but has no problem touching others. I see it all the time. I watch two boys three days a week and I see him go up to them and put his arms around their shoulders. He is trying to do what he sees. He isn't trying to be inappropriate but doesn't understand personal space if he is the one doing the touching. It's hard to teach because he sees everyone else at school touching, hugging, putting their arm around each other but he doesn't have friends like that and the other boys do not understand his difference.
In the past I have written about Handsome and his inability to read social cues. He is getting better all the time but he gets so insulted when someone deflects his closeness.
It's not just Handsome that needs to learn about touching others, every child should learn how important it is to keep your hands to yourself. I think starting this as early as possible is most important.
This summer we have discussed and redicussed:
1. Remember that touching others is inappropriate. Most people don't want to be touched.
2. When you are little it is okay for boys and girls to hold hands and hug but now that you are older that is not something everyone likes or wants. Touching can look odd to other kids. (to my son it is so innocent but the other boys, see it as he LIKES them. Sad that my son has to learn this when he is clearly not in a mental place to know what that really means but I don't want him being hurt teased or called names)
3. You shouldn't hug your friends unless you haven't seen them for at least a week. (This is also a hard lesson for kids like my son. They see other boys hugging all the time but these are boys that see each other so much they are best buddies. We live in a small town and many do everything together around here. It's nice but hard to explain to him.)
4. If one of your friends has something in their hair or on their face, it is nice of you to want to remove it for them but tell them. They may want to get it themselves or ask you where. Do not try to remove it themselves. (It is so sad because he is trying to help but kids do not want to be touched on their face. I get it. I don't want that either.)
5. NEVER touch another kids backside. (YES in sports you see them do it and YES your friends may be doing it to each other but do not do it! I have seen this so many times. My son just wants to be like everyone else but he is not in their crowd and unfortunately and thankfully he doesn't get it.)
Hopefully this year he makes a REAL friend, one who invites him over and wants to be around him. I remind him that to have friends, you have to be a friend meaning listen to what they want to say and be interested in them. Another year makes a difference. I am hopeful!!!! It breaks a momma's heart to watch him just try to be like others but get rejected time and time again.
This Summer we had two other boys at the house and a lot of time to practice this, well see how it goes.