Parenting Matters — Ways to Show Your Love
It is easy to know you love your child. It is a bit more difficult to show that on a regular basis but it shouldn’t be.
Let’s just take kids. What they need from you on a regular basis is to hear those three words: I love you. That matters to them. Let them know in as many ways as possible. Give them surprise hugs and kisses. Any way you can show affection to your child from your newborn to your daughter who just brought you your new grandchild.
Even touching matters. Take your child’s hand as you walk together. Do it not just for safety but also to be close. Put your hand on your child’s back as he tries his new two-wheel bicycle. Again, it isn’t just for safety. When you are helping with school work, make contact. It doesn’t have to be a lot but even a little says you care.
Tell your child you love her anytime. Do it riding in the car, as you put her down for the night, when you get her up in the morning and as she helps you clean up the kitchen at night. These random words should come anytime, regularly and easily.
Even your newborn appreciates the touch you use as you rub him down for his bath or stroke his fingers as he nurses each time. Every touch counts. Make sure that many of the touches are accompanied with loving words from you telling him how sweet he is and how much you love him.
You need to even touch your kids when they aren’t being so perfect. Touch them when they have done something wrong. Hold his hand or put your hand on his back and tell him affectionately that what he did was wrong and it hurts others when he hits them.
Be affectionate in creative ways. If your child doesn’t respond well to hugs, ruffle his hair or tap him slightly on the belly. Give his arm a squeeze when you are pleased with what he has done.
Be there for her when she makes some mistakes. Kids learn at these times especially well. Listen to what she says happened and give her the reassurance she needs coupled with a hug. It is easy to give hugs and love when things are going well; it is more important when things aren’t going as well to still have a good hug or a loving squeeze at these times.
You don’t want to overwhelm her with kisses or hugs, especially if she is one who likes her space and can easily become annoyed. Find a way to express yourself that makes her comfortable but make sure she feels your love.
One message we need to send to our children is that they are loved. When children don’t feel that love, it sets a stage for numerous mental health problems. You can not avoid all mental health issues by letting your child know he or she is loved but you can help. Being loved and knowing it is a wonderful foundation for your child’s long-term mental health.
Maybe it is easiest to learn about showing love and affection when we think of children. But lessons we learn by showing our love for children need to be translated into other relationships. Maybe learning really is easier when we begin with children and work our way up to others. We begin with the brand new baby who responds well to the love we show and certainly needs that love. We learn more when we have a 2-year-old who does a fair amount of testing. As our little one grows, the way we continue to show love still matters. Adolescence may force us to find new ways.
What we find is that showing love to our children may just be a way of teaching us about showing love to other people in our lives.
All the lessons about the importance of conveying our loving feelings to our children helps us show affection and love to others including our partner.
Once again, we have much to learn from our children.