Tuesday, June 28, 2011

10 Ways to Show Your Children You Love Them

ABCs of Homeschooling
L: Love

As a mom of seven, I am frequently asked for parenting advice.  I am not an expert by any means, but the best advice I know to give is to be sure your kids know that you love them.  You are not going to be a perfect parent.  You will screw up. You will make poor decisions. You will scar your children for life.

Okay, maybe not the last one. But the only way I know of to not scar your children for life, despite your mistakes, is to be sure that they know that you love them.  I've had many a conversation with my kids where they didn't agree with or understand a decision but when I asked them if they believed I was making this decision out of love for them, they had to answer yes.  My kids may question many things in life, but not one of them wonders if their parents love them. And I believe that has, and will, go a long way in keeping our relationships strong.

For me, one of the most important aspects of homeschooling is the ability to develop strong relationships with my kids. Relationships are key for me and outweigh just about everything else. Period. So there was no doubt in my mind that my "L" word would be Love.  As it's also Top Ten Tuesday, I thought I'd multitask and give you (with input from the kids themselves)...

10 Ways to Show Your Children You Love Them

1. Tell them.

2. Laugh with them frequently, family inside jokes are the best.  Humor goes a long way in life.

3. Enjoy time together just hanging out.  This doesn't have to be rocket science, we like to have all the younger ones pile on our bed to watch TV.  We have certain shows that are "ours" (right now it's So You Think You Can Dance) and we'll stay up until late if it means everyone is finally home and can watch together.

4. Be huggable. Stay close and never outgrow hugging.

5. Tell them.

6. Listen. Let them tell you all about their latest interest, idea, movie, book, whatever.  I could do better at this, there is so much chatter in a large family that I often say "LATER!", but if you talk now, you will keep talking later.  If you say later too often, later will never come.  Spend "school time" chatting. They'll think they're getting away with something. You'll know that time is more vital than learning names and dates.

7. Have a few family traditions.  I'm not big on traditions myself, unless it comes to Christmas.  We have certain family traditions that are a must.  These are a huge blessing and communicate love to each other each year.

8. Accept them for who they are. We're all human and we all have our strengths and weaknesses.  Sometimes we're too afraid of what everyone else will think, or how our kids are representing our family. What everyone else thinks is not more important than our children. How they may "represent us" is not more important than them understanding that we love them unconditionally. Make sure they know they could do nothing to ever lose your love.

9. Words of affirmation.  Focus on the positives.  Yes, we need to help our children grow and learn and false praise is not helpful (If you have ever watched the American Idol auditions, you'll know what I'm talking about), we must be honest with them.  But we also must be careful we're not causing a "self fulfilling prophecy" by expecting bad behavior or constantly focusing on their weaknesses. Sometimes there is real change in our kids lives and we can't see it because we're too close. When a child thinks a parent expects failure, they will often give them failure, and they will most likely doubt their parents love.

10. Tell them. (Can you see which one I think is vital?  Too many parents assume their children will know they are loved.  That's baloney.  You must tell them. And tell them often.  But not in front of their friends, that's just embarrassing.)

What do you do to demonstrate your love to your children?




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