When children grow up feeling unloved and neglected, they are more likely to have difficulties becoming productive members of society. While celebrating Valentines Day and expressing love towards children today, remember how important it is to show your children this same affection every single day with these seven easy tips:
- Ask them about their day and listen. Take the time to learn about the ups and downs of their everyday. Not only will your child beam from this simple yet constructive attention, but you will have a better understanding of your child, and the daily challenges they face.
- Support them by taking an interest in what they care about. The newest preteen vampire book or Halo video game may not be your ideal Saturday afternoon but you might find yourself having conversations with your kids you never thought possible when you begin sharing these experiences with them.
- Instill self love in your children by caring about yourself. Teach them not to be destructive by not being destructive to yourself. This can be difficult, as humans all make mistakes from time to time and are often our own worst enemy. Remember that children imitate everything-- if they see you constantly putting others first without any regard to your own well being, they are sure to grow up as martyrs too.
- Laugh with them everyday. Simple, but more effective than almost anything. Laughter teaches people to let go of their fears and to enjoy new experiences with grace and dignity. Laughter is an especially useful tool to ease tension and will remind children that they are loved even in the most heated moments.
- Teach them to set high standards for themselves by expecting more than what is necessary. So often, kids will say things like “ it was extra credit. I didn’t have to do it” but parents need to teach kids to push themselves and strive for more each time. Children want to please their parents so if it is important to you, it will be important to them.
- Believe in them. By showing them you believe in them, they will believe in themselves. Do not expect them to just know-- tell them often and be specific about their qualities.
- Be honest-- about everything. From where babies come from to the Tooth Fairy to Santa Claus, parents have been sharing these fairytales forever. One of the most important jobs of a parent is to prepare the child for the future and the real world but how can a parent successfully do this without honesty? Why would you begin this incredibly important lifelong relationship with lies, no matter how insignificant it may be? By being honest always, you are not only setting a good example for your kids, you are creating an environment of trust and mutual respect.
Want to learn more ways to connect with your children and become a better parent? Though there are many places in the tristate that offer parenting classes, Beech Acres has a wonderful variety of resources for parents. In addition to providing educational and mediation services to families, Beech Acres also has ongoing For the Love of Kids parenting workshops.