This post is going to focus on parental caring for our kids. Feeling unconditionally cared for by parents develops a strong parent-child bond.
What Speaks Love?
In the book, The 5 Love Languages of Children, Gary Chapman, PhD and Ross Campbell, MD address common ways that children tend to most feel loved. They identify the 5 love languages as follows:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
If you are interested in more details on these, I do recommend that you pick up the book.
In the meantime, ask your child(ren) to finish the sentence, “I feel loved when________.”
You may be surprised by their response.
Do I make what is important to my kid(s) a personal priority?
I feel privileged to have had parents that supported my endeavors as I grew up. They were at every band concert and half-time show I played.
When I asked my daughter what helps her to feel loved, she stated that she feels special when I go to her parent nights at the dance studio. My older son feels the same when I go to his wrestling matches.
My younger son loves playing with puzzles and figuring things out. I harness that energy by letting him help with household projects. Yes, involving him usually makes projects take twice as long, but the investment of time is worth it for our relationship.
Even taking interest in their daily activities goes a long way in building the connection.
For instance, I am not and have never been much of a video gamer. However, my oldest son loves RPGs. When I listen and ask questions about those games, he feels loved.
I have counseled many kids that are involved in activities to gain approval from their parents, and not for personal enjoyment. Let’s meet our kids in their interests, instead of just bringing them to ours. This way, our kids can develop their own identities and feel supported when we join them in it.
If you are not sure what is important to your kid(s), ask them. One way we discuss this is by asking around the dinner table, “What was the best and worst thing that happened in your life today?” Their answers will give some idea as to what is important to them.
Do I give my kid(s) undivided attention?
Confession time. Sometimes, my priorities are selfish. I am way too interested in what my social media friends are doing or ranting about. Sometimes I get lost in my thoughts about what I need to do next. I wake from my stupor to realize that my youngest is stuck on repeat, “Daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy….”
I wish I could tell you I always say, “Oh, I am sorry dear. What can I help you with?” More often, I lean towards yelling, “WHAT DO YOU WANT?!? Can’t you see that I am busy?!?”
The message that I deliver when this happens is, “Quit messing with me kid, I don’t have time for ya.”
Let me give you a couple of practical alternatives:
Have a designated time to put your phone in the other room because social media is just too easy to scroll and distracts from important things.
Also, if you are not able to respond to your children right away, tell them that you will finish what you are working on. Give a specific time frame of when you are going to sit down with them without distractions. Let them know that you love them and want to be able to give them your full attention.
Make sure to keep your promise. This instills trust in your child that they are important to you.
Audience Participation Time
What is one way this week that you can show your child you care about them?
Leave your answer in the comments!
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