Telling Your Children “I Love You”*

parentsChildhood depression, mental disorders, and teen suicides are on the rise. Due to cyber bullies, absentee parents, and peer pressure, some youngsters don’t feel loved and accepted. Don’t let that happen to your children. Let them know you love them by your words and action.

There are numerous ways to let them know you love them, here are thirteen ways that can be a springboard to attain what is best for them.

1. Don’t ridicule your children’s friends – The older they are, the more important this becomes. You should be concerned and monitor their friends, but tread carefully.

As children mature, they identify more with their friends than with their parents. Though this natural occurrence is necessary, parents still fear the influence those friends might have.

As your children’s identity become interconnected with their friends, an attack on one is an attack on all. You can demand, “You’re not going to see so-and-so anymore,” but that could alienate them to the point they tune you out whenever you speak.

It takes great wisdom and finesses to keep the lines of communication open with regards to your children’s friends. Here are some suggestions:
• Just recall how things were when you were their age. Empathy will help you communicate your concerns effectively.
• Ask questions about your children’s friends, being careful not to form an immediate opinion.

• Listen while they express their views, this shows you do value their individuality and accept their ability to make decisions.
• Make sure your voice is not condescending, combative or superior when you tell them why you disapprove of their friends.

• Invite your children’s friends into your home as this will allow you to monitor their friends and also get to know them.
• Don’t be apprehensive setting limits on the amount of time your children spend with their friends but do it in a way both of you can accept.

2. Make meals and snack time special and fun – fun and different ways to prepare food flood the internet (Especially Facebook and Pinterest). Use this resource to liven up meals and snack time.

Veggies that look like dinosaurs, sandwiches in the shape of spaceships, and a special meal on your children’s birthdays show how much you care.

3. Show your affection – This can be a heartfelt hug, a pat on the back, a tender paternal kiss on the cheek or forehead, or a light massage says, “I love you” without you saying a word. It can also alleviate your children’s everyday stress.

News and talk shows bombard children with information than any other time in history. Since children are not mature enough to process all of this, they tend to bottle up their concerns. Your outreach can help them relax and feel safe.

Older children may not want physical displays of affection, especially in public. But this is when they might need it the most. If you haven’t shown physical affection to your older children in a long time, start slowly. They might withdraw at first, but be patient. Before long they will accept and want your affection.

4. Give your children quality time – in this busy world; parents sometimes don’t give their children quality time. As a whole, parents need to spend as much time as possible with their children, but when they can’t, they need to make those occasions count.

Quality time may require shutting out the world and devoting one-on-one time with your children. No phones, work, or personal agendas. Look them in the eyes and pay attention. Children aren’t dumb.

They know when you’re not “with” them. Ask questions and then give them time to answer so they can formulate a reply thus increasing their self-confidence and problem-solving ability.

5. Let your child help with the chores – Little children especially like to help around the house. It is easier to do it yourself, but this stymies an opportunity to bond and train your child. Letting them help also strengthens their self-esteem if you couple the responsibility with honest and sincere praise.

6. Help your children build independence and self-confidence – Independent and self-confident children are more prone to resist peer pressure and not compromise their standards.

Your job is to prepare them to leave home one day, by allowing them to form an opinion and make their own decisions and learning from their mistakes or else, they might spend the rest of their life asking for solutions or have someone else make their decisions.

7. Allow your children to make mistakes – everyone learns from their mistakes, so teach them that a failure is an event, not an eternity.

Don’t correct them for an honest mistake that is not a willful act of rebellion; there’s a big difference between them accidentally spilling their milk and an outright refusal to heed what you say.

Also, remember that the younger your children are, the shorter their attention span and ability to retain information. You might have said something ten times, but they still can forget.

If you punish your children for things they can’t help when done at a particular age and are part of their learning process, they will get discouraged and quit trying.

8. Show enthusiasm in their interests – this is hard if you’re busy or you and your children don’t share the same interests. But when you are interested in what interests them, they will feel your love.

Stop what you’re doing and give them your undivided attention. Ask questions to stimulate a conversation. If possible, participate in what they are doing.

9. It takes two to have children so be caring and respectful when discussing the other parent of your children so that they will grow up with a healthy view of love and relationships.

What if you’re divorced, and you don’t think you could love or forgive the other? Here are some suggestions:
• Keep the lines of communication open and include the other parent in decisions you make on your children’s behalf.

• Let them know of the positive traits of the other parent – difficult for some but try to remember the favorable times.
• Share your children’s day-to-day events with the other. They need to know that the other parent is still involved in their lives.

Please note: If you fear verbal or physical abuse from your ex or current parent of your children, this situation needs counseling and outside intervention.

10.Help your children develop their talents – Everyone has a talent or talents. As a parent, you will be the first one to notice your children’s skills and aptitudes. Help them to cultivate their abilities, and this may mean a sacrifice of your time and finances, but it will be an “investment” dividend pays future “dividends.”

11.Encourage your children – “No” is the most common word in the English language. It’s also the most discouraging. Sometimes it is necessary.

If your children perpetually hear “No!,” they will learn to tune you out and also believe they can’t do anything right. As the curator of your children’s self-esteem, it’s up to you to help your children have a positive regard for themselves.

12. Say “I love you” often – This should be understood, but parents get busy or assume their children already know. There is no compare to a heartfelt and sincere “I love you” followed with a gentle form of affection. It takes only a moment, but it will reap a lifetime of benefits.

13. Discipline your children in private – training is necessary if you want to raise responsible children, but there are three reasons not to do it in public:
• Someone might report you to the authorities.

• Disciplining in public will embarrass them and, may affect your long-term relationship with them.

• If you wait until the two of you are in private, it gives you time to reevaluate the situation, manage anger then dole out the proper discipline.

There you have it- thirteen ways to tell your children “I love you.” Start doing them today and watch your children bloom as your relationship strengthens.

* While this list is for children who still live at home, you can (and should!) adapt it for your adult children. Though most adult children do not need their parents in the capacity they once did, they still need to know you love and care for them.

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