Lesson 6. Love lots and love well

Nothing matters like love While much training for parents focuses on guiding children, the most important factor in their development is love. In fact the resilient children who flourish in spite of many difficulties are those who have someone in their lives who loved them.

Parents don't always feel loving. All parents get irritated with their children at times. That doesn't mean they don't love them. Love is more than a feeling. It is the commitment to act in the best interest of another person.

What are some things parents can do that help children feel loved?

There are many ways to show love to children. One is to take time doing things with them that they enjoy. Can you think of times when you have joined your child in doing something simple and fun?

Another powerful way to show love is to take an interest in their thoughts and feelings. Think of times when you have listened attentively to your child.

Each person has his or her own “language of love.” Scott loved to go to a nearby lake to watch ducks. He never tired of it. In order to build the relationship with Scott, his dad invited him to go big game hunting with him in Montana . It would be an expensive trip. Dad assumed Scott would be excited. Scott confessed privately to a friend, “I would rather have my dad go with me up to the lake to watch the ducks.”

Do we ever show love to our children in ways that don't help our children feel loved?

Love is more than a burger Many parents have tried to make up for limited time with their children by doing something special like going out for dinner. Whether this adds a lot, a little, or nothing at all the relationship bank account depends on how the child feels about it. If the child loves pizza, a burger with fries may not help. If the child loves to talk to you, going to a movie may not increase the closeness. If the child would love to bike or play tennis with you, a burger is not the answer.

Love requires work. It takes time and alertness to discover each child's preferences. Love doesn't just come like a flood. What are some ways you can discover a child's love preferences?

It may be helpful to notice how the child shows love. You might also reflect on the attempts to show love that have succeeded in the past. And it never hurts to notice what the child asks for.

Individualizing our messages of love Can you describe the way that each of your children likes to be loved by you?

Make a plan that works for you.
If reflection works for you, set a time for additional thinking. Think about your children's love language and plan loving time and actions into your schedule.
If you learn well from wise friends or professional helpers, make a specific plan to get input from them:
If you benefit from self-help aids, here are some recommendations:

Additional ideas:
Wallace Goddard Family Life: Challenges and Choices
Enjoyability: medium
Credibility: medium to high
Size of contribution: medium
At this website ( www.arfamilies.org and, in particular: this article) there are many resources related to languages of love

Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell Five Love Languages of Children
Enjoyability: medium
Credibility: medium
Size of contribution: medium
This book offers a somewhat more complex way of thinking about love languages. Useful.

Haim Ginott Between Parent and Child
Haim Ginott Between Parent and Teenager
Enjoyability: high
Credibility: high
Size of contribution: medium
Ginott is the master of tuning in to children and their preferences.

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