On Tuesday 2/14, my Valentine's Day gift to you is a FREE copy of "Parenting in the Real World" for your Kindle!
You love your kids. It goes without saying. When push comes to shove, you would do anything for your child and in a time of crisis you are undoubtedly your child’s hero, protector, and champion.
As a parent, you show your love is many ways. Hugs and cuddles, clean socks in the drawer (possibly unmatched, but alas), and endless acts of coordination, strategic planning, chauffeuring, entertaining, consoling—the list goes on!
You probably say, “I love you” to your child and I know you mean it. Your child knows you mean it. He or she knows that you love them. But how can you make sure your child really feels your love? Better yet, how can you do this on the days when your child is challenging, frustrating, and even obnoxious?
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are three foolproof ways to make sure your child feels your love no matter how much chaos and drama unfolds:
Listen (even when you don’t want to hear it)
I know there are times when you probably love chatting with your child. Let’s face it, there was a time when you hung on every new word and sound they made. But, in reality, there are also times when you truly aren’t interested, don’t want to have the same conversation again for the eighteenth time, or feel as if a specific discussion will certainly end up in a screaming match.
Despite all of this, if you can set aside even five minutes a day to just listen to your child it will go a long way. Quick review; remember listening does not involve judgment, advice giving, or corrections.
I know this may be counter-intuitive since it seems like kids (from the time they can speak) want nothing more than to hear “yes” all the time and have no boundaries. In reality, setting limits sends your child the message that you care enough about them to say “no” even when it’s hard.
I hear first-hand from teens who don’t have curfews the envy they have for peers whose parents go to the trouble of setting and enforcing limits. Sure, they get to stay out as late as they want, but they’d rather complain about their parents’ stupid rules and know, deep down, they’re loved.
So, next time you set a limit or say no, remember it’s an act of love that your child will remember forever (even if they’re begging and pleading in the here-and-now).
Take care of yourself!
This is the absolute best way to make sure your child feels your love. Why? Because when your needs are met, even partially, you’ll have more to give to your kids. When you take time to recharge and replenish—to show yourself some love—the trickle-down effect is powerful!
You’ll consistently make wiser parenting choices like biting your tongue instead of letting a zinger slip past your lips or taking a minute to listen and breathe before reacting (or over-reacting). These are the day-to-day events that truly define your relationship with your child and carry more weight than a quick hug or kiss on the cheek. All of these things add up and send a clear message to your child: I am loved.
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