Do you make your child feel loved?

Our society is a strange beast.  We are supposed to be more advanced, more knowledgeable, more everthing than in the past.  We definitely live more rushed, busy lives than in the past, that's for sure.  What surprises me, however, is that we are not necessarily advancing in the strengths of our relationships.  In fact, we are probably regressing in this area of our lives...I'm painting with a broad brush here, I know.  

What I do know is that our advanced lives mean that there is a lot of things that interfere with relationship building.  It is easy to consider watching TV together as spending good time.  We all know this is mostly not true.  

Quality? Quantity?
I've realised also with my nephew and nieces that the whole quality instead of quantity time is probably not true either.  Children need both quantity and quality!  I stood in a line to pay at some shop yesterday and saw a child trying to get the attention of her mother.  She finally took hold of her mother's chin in an attempt to turn her mother's face towards her.  It made me think of how important eye-time is to children.  To know that they are seen and known.  

The mirror-face
Children get to know themselves throught the faces of their caregivers.  They experience the expressions on their caregivers' faces as a reflection of them!  If your face lights up each time you see your child, they learn they have value and worth.  If you show discomfort when they cry, they deduce that their emotion is uncomfortable to others.  

Am I valuable? 
Children will learn from your priorities whether they are worthwhile, valuable, fun to be with. If you are always too busy or distracted to give your child one-on-one time, they believe that other things are more important and interesting to you than they are.  On the other hand, children should also learn that they are not the centre of your universe.  They need to understand how the "real world" works and that they can also meet some of their own needs.  I think for example of the ability to self-soothe appropriately and how important this skill is for emotional maturity.  

Be consistent, be good-enough
Bringing up children is not for the weak-hearted.  Unfortunately, so many hurt people in our world are the result of parents who did not take to heart the wonderful responsiblity they took on when they conceived a child.  Fortunately, there are many more parents who dedicate most of their emotional and physical energy to bringing up their children.  If you have read this far, you probably are one of the latter type.  I just want to remind you that you will never be a perfect parent and you will make many mistakes with your children.  That is okay, as long as you try to be as consistent as you can be with the supportive, healthy behaviours.  Be a good-enough parent will be enough.  

Love languages
I came across great assessments for the five love languages.  This site includes an assessment that can be completed by children from about age 5 and teens.  I think these assessments can be done by everyone in the family and could create good dinner time conversations.  Maybe even star charts with everyone's top love languages to encourage showing love in the ways it will mean the most to the receiver. This will also build emotional maturity in children by teaching them how people differ from themselves.  Will also build the concept of reciprocity in relationships and appropriate other-focussedness.  

Affirm me, baby!
So, how about it?  Btw, I did the assessment and apparently Words of Affirmation is my primary love language.  Interesting how I've changed because the last time I did this, it was Physical Touch.  So, probably worth doing this assessment every few years.  

Enjoy building love-language families and showing your children that they are valuable and worth making an effort for in the language they understand best!  

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Wow , this post really helped me alot.
I keep wondering if i have spent enough time with my lil girl ro is my X spending enough time with her. And last I told him its about quality more than quality becs we dont live together, and now i read a different view. SO thanks alot

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