Recently we had some friends over for dinner. As we were playing following the dinner my son ran up to me and said, “I love you Dad!” I replied with a simple, “Love you!” Our friends reacted immediately, “Ummm that is the cutest thing I’ve ever heard. I wish my kids would say that to me on their own.” I thought it was a normal thing, but apparently it’s not. Are you saying these words to your kids? These are words your kids need to hear everyday.
When my son was born I remember holding him in my arms and saying, “I love you.” Since that day I have been sure to tell both my children every single day that I love them, multiple times. Even if my kids are asleep I will tell them I love them. Why is it that we as parents don’t say this to our kids enough? Is it because we don’t think about it?
Living in a society that throws various negative messages day after day, today’s kids are battered with damaging thoughts and concepts. Building your kids’ self-esteem will pay off, and will enable them to live past feelings of inadequacy that are often hidden from others.
Aleasa Word, an internationally certified emotional coach and editor for Raising Boys on The Good Men Project, said “commercials tell us we are not thin enough, rich enough, pretty enough, fit enough, man enough, woman enough, straight enough, gay enough, conservative enough, liberal enough, cultured enough, tall enough, smart enough and more.” Such concepts batter kids and without a strongly built self-esteem, they just might break.
I want to make sure that my kids know that I love them. They are enough, no matter what the world tells them. With so much bad in the world today this is the simplest thing I can do that will build them up.
Parents must realize that words said or not said do have an impact in children’s lives. It’s not too late to start telling your kids “I love you.” Help build them up, so that they will live better lives, confident that they have what it takes to be great.
When you say “I love you” to your kids it does so much for them:
1. It gives them someone to trust. When kids know they are loved, they know they have someone to trust. Oh sure, not every piece of advice we’ll give them throughout life is going to the best advice. But they can rest confident knowing that we will always give it our best shot with their best interests in mind.
2. It tells them they are valuable. When children know they are loved because of who they are – not because of what they have done – they begin to realize the true value of their lives. And people who fully realize the inherent value of life are more likely to make the most of it.
3. It gives them a fan in the seats. Children who are loved know that they will always have somebody on their side cheering for them. And while the cheering may be epitomized in the bleachers at a 5-year old’s tee-ball game, it is far bigger than that. They also know they have somebody cheering for them in the game of life.
4. It allows them to make mistakes. A natural outflowing of love is forgiveness – when we love somebody, we forgive their wrongs. Children who know they are loved know they will be forgiven even after making the inevitable mistakes that we all make. But just to be clear – if you think this truth gives children freedom to do anything and everything they want, keep reading.
5. It provides correction. Love always seeks the best of another. It always desires the best possible outcome in the life of another person. As a result, love must provide correction. And while this may sometimes look like punishment, it may also look like steady encouragement. But it always seeks the best of another. And discipline is far easier to receive when the motives are not self-seeking.
6. It makes them part of something bigger than themselves. To be loved is to be accepted as part of something bigger than ourselves. A child who is loved has an identity in something greater than their own personal world. And the sense that we are part of something bigger produces responsibility, commitment, and ethic. It is something that our world needs more of today…
Don’t let a day go by without telling those you truly care about how much they mean to you. ‘I love you’ should not be a foreign phrase but a common meaningful statement shared on a daily basis.