Edited by superbeans - 4/10/12 at 11:31am
Erin, shoulda', woulda', coulda' are often whispering in m y ear as well. We do what we think is right at the time and probably was as right as right could be. Now, re. how to attach more... you're probably doing it all already! Drawing firm boundaries is as important as back rubbing with these kids. I'm amazed how thrilled my kids are to get to sit next to my partner who is more of the "growler" in our family than I am! I imagine you're already aware that you should be as physical as you can with him as long as he's open to it. Standing behind him to help with a fishing pole (real or imagined) and reeling in a "big one" or wrestling with him on a carpet are appropriate choices for many 6 year olds. Ours was still very affectionate, though she swings that way anyway. Best of luck!
I still remember a minister beginnning her sermon with, "Do you remember the last time you were picked up as a child?" That had quite an impact on me since I was raised in my birth family and have fond memories of shoulder rides. In our society, being carried is a strong pathway to bonding. We carried our dd long after it's "appropriate" to the point that people (grandma types) out on the street would comment that she's too big for that sort of thing. I ignored them and carried her however I could whenever was convenient and she asked for it. On my shoulders, on my back, whatever I could do. I still pick her up on occasion even though she's nearly 8.
I also sometimes said no, you're too big or too old since we weren't always in the right frame of mind to be that close to each other. I learned to be very careful not to touch her when I'm overly frustrated or angry since my touch could be rough at those times.
I too want to know why you think you've not done enough in this area....