Very physical 6-yo
I'm looking for ideas on ways to handle interpersonal problems arising for my very tactile, kinetic, physical son. It's not that he is aggressive; in fact, he's an unusually loving, easygoing kid.
But he expresses positive feelings very physically which gets him into trouble with his schoolmates, most of whom are not eager to have their 'bubble' breached. This behavior takes the form of enthusiastic hugs (often from behind), charges, tackles, gentle pushes, pokes and tickles, handholding, picking other kids up, and on one occasion, pulling a little girl he admires into his lap. Because he is friendly, kind and funny he seems well-liked, but most kids are understandably a bit wary around him and often show obvious ambivalence or resistance to his physical overtures.
His physical nature doesn't normally express itself in a hostile way, except sometimes during rivalry with an older sibling when he feels frustrated or slighted. He is strong and has managed to cause his sib injury on a couple of occasions. Also at home, since weaning him at two I continue to have a time of it keeping him from being too 'handsy' around my breasts. Hugs are fraught. He also loves to throw things--rocks, sticks, etc--not aiming at people but often carelessly and ill-advisedly.
We have, along with his teachers, tried redirecting my son's behavior, encouraging him to ask permission before touching, use his words to compliment or invite play (he's also very articulate), shake off annoying behavior, etc, with limited success. Lecturing him leaves him crushed.
He is precociously active in sports, often playing them with older kids and well-coordinated in that context, albeit somewhat unaware spatially in others.
Any suggestions for encouraging a bit more gentleness and respect and channeling a very vigorous, dynamic, lively boy into somewhat more disciplined ways would be very welcome, whether through parenting techniques or certain physical activities (he is most drawn to basketball, baseball, and soccer and loves to dance if not following a prescribed set of steps).
Gymnastics, perhaps? I feel he is not ready mentally and emotionally for martial arts and they might render him lethal!
-Mama of a bull in a china shop