HOW TO MAKE A CHILD FEEL LOVED
Strengthening the Family Circle
By Dayle Shockleydshock816@family.net
"Do you love me?"
This question from a child is often asked in jest,
preceding a request
for a parent to do something or buy
something, but I wonder if our children are as aware of
our love for them as they
should be. In our busy
world, it's easy to let our expressions of love for our
children go unsaid.
are some things you can say that will show you
(1) "Did you have a good day or a bad day today?"
the standard, "How was your day?" is sometimes
met with a shrug. Being specific will get you more
a child says he had a good or bad day, you can
follow-up with, "Well tell me about it." And then make
listen, offering help in areas that might make
a difference for them, and praising them when
an interest in your children's activities lets
them know that their activities and feelings are
important to you.
"Could I get your opinion on this?"
Few things make children feel more special than having
their opinion sought
out. When Rebecca was a girl, she
says her mother would ask for her opinion about whether
a handbag matched a pair of
shoes, or if a certain
picture would look good hung above the fireplace. "This
always made me feel so special and grown-up,"
Rebecca. "Like what I thought really mattered to my
Children need to know that their opinions and
have merit. By seeking them out, we may discover that
our children have unique strengths and gifts, which
help chart a course for their future. After all,
every great invention started with an opinion or idea.
(3) "I can't
allow you to do that."
Child experts have been saying for years that children
need and want boundaries. Without
are left to govern themselves, which can be
frightening. But don't expect your children to like
boundaries and rules you establish for them. It is
their nature to rebel against the rules.
By the same token,
don't be intimidated by their
rebellion, and don't back down from what you know is
right. Parents are accountable to
God for the things
they allow their children to do. Keeping that in mind
will help you stay firm. In time, your children
understand you acted out of love.
(4) "Can you help me with this?"
Children enjoy helping out. It makes
necessary to the family's well-being. Even a first-
grader can do a good job setting the table or folding
load of towels from the dryer. Sharing chores gives
children a chance to taste of life in the "real" world,
helps them see that it takes a lot of effort to
make a family work.
When children complete chores, be sure and thank
(5) "This belongs to you."
Children deserve a place that belongs solely to them.
It may be a room,
or just part of a room screened off
for privacy. In any event, allow them to decorate it as
they please, as long as
it falls within your guidelines
of appropriate. By giving your children some control of
their lives, you are saying,
"I trust you to make good
choices." Such trust from a parent is important in
fostering a sense of responsibility in
(6) "I'm sorry."
Not only do parents need to apologize to their children
whenever they have crossed
a line when correcting them,
or jumped to a conclusion before knowing the facts, but
parents should also express regret
face personal disappointments and setbacks. Just
knowing that you care, whenever they are feeling
gives children a solid assurance of your love, even if
you can't fix the problem.
Many times a child is
disappointed in himself. Maybe he
lost something of value because of careless behavior.
It is easy for parents to further
the child's feeling
of guilt by chiding him for his lack of responsibility
or his clumsiness. But this kind of reaction
devastating effects on children, making them feel
worthless and unworthy of your love.
the child's heartache. By saying, "I'm
so sorry you lost your watch. I know you must feel
terrible about it," you not
only give the child a
chance to come to terms with his mistake, but you show
him that you care about him, even when
If we consider how many times we have disappointed our
Heavenly Father with our own
lack of responsibility,
and how many times he has expressed sorrow, instead of
hitting us over the head, then we will
importance of embracing our children whenever they have
let us down.
Children need to feel loved,
and we should make sure
that we remind them of our love regularly. In
addition, we should look for signs that
confident of our love. Are your children self-
motivated? Do they like themselves? Do they
others well? Are they cooperative and unselfish? Do
they have a sense of humor? Are they
the usual answer to most of these questions is yes, we
can feel confident that are our children
are well aware
of our unconditional love for them. And if we are
lucky, perhaps they will return the same kind
Dayle Allen Shockley is an author whose work has
appeared in dozens of publications.
Her editorials and
essays are regular features in The Dallas Morning News
and online at Jewish World Review. Most "Strengthening
Family Circle" articles originally appeared in The
Dallas Morning News.
Dayle lives with her family in Texas, and
is a writing
instructor at North Harris College in Houston. Contact
her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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