Love is an utterly important emotion for the development of children, catalyzing them to create strong healthy attachments to their parents, to others, and improving life satisfaction. That is because humans are social beings that thrive on being and feeling connected to others and there is not doubt that our psychosocial environments impact not only our brain development but also our genes. Our brains and genetics, are hard wired to love and protect our children otherwise our species would have gone extinct. When children do not feel loved, they may be at risk of mental health problems such as anxiety and depressive disorders. So here are four ways to show your love for your children no matter what age they are.
- Your actions speak louder than your words:
- So demonstrate that your kid is a priority by behaving in a way that lets them know they are important to you. For example, be present when talking to them by making eye contact or looking at them. You would be surprised how many parents have conversations with their children while distracted on the phone, watching tv, putting on makeup, or engaging in some other activity.
- Also, if you say you are going to do something, do it! Teens often share their disappointment about their parents not following through on their word. It’s one thing to have to cancel once but when parents consistently don’t follow through, kids may interpret that as not being worthy of love or your attention.
- Express affection. I know that every family is different in how they express affection whether it’s through snuggles or hugs or kisses or some other manner. The important concept is that you express affection towards your child so that they feel loved and internalize the believe that they deserve to be loved. It is a common pitiful to pull away love from kids when they misbehave, sending them the message that they are only love if they behave in a certain way rather than unconditionally. Instead, try to let them know how you feel but that you still love them. Teach them that one can be angry at someone but still love them very much.
- Have fun together. Their is much to be said about the importance of laughter and fun. It is a good way to convey the message that they are valued, and have something to offer. It’s also conveys the message that you want to spend time together and enjoy each others company.
Ultimately it comes down to demonstrating to your children that they are important and loved, no matter what, so that they go on to grow up into adults who believe they are worth loving. Remember children believe they get the love they deserve because they don’t no any better or don’t know how love is expressed in other families. So make a commitment to have fun, be present and express love and affection to your children with consistent follow through, as it will impact their whole lives.
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My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, teens, and families. We have clinicians who specialize in working with families overcoming challenging patterns. If you believe you or someone you love could benefit from our services, we are here to help. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.
Written by Yoendry Torres, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist