Many parents are very affectionate. However there are many who struggle with this a great deal! Sometimes parents struggle because being affectionate goes against their personality and it’s not their love language. There can also be times it can be even deeper issues like past hurts or someone who hasn’t had affectionate shown to them by their parents or people close to them. They feel awkward and don’t always know how to reach out, especially the first time.
There are also parents that do a great job showing affection to their younger children but when their kids start to grow up it starts to feel more awkward. Our tweens and teens can shy away also at this time which is totally normal. I have often struggled with this area. I don’t set out to not show my kid’s affection but one day I will realize, “when was the last time I hugged my kids”? Don’t let your teens fool you; they still need your affection! No, it won’t be the same as when your kids were babies/toddlers but they still need to feel your love! If you have a damaged relationship with a particular child affection can be a first step in healing it. You might be amazed what a hug and an “I’m sorry” will do to break down barriers with a child!
I know this can be very difficult for some parents, especially for ones who are struggling with hurt themselves. But I encourage you to do it anyway. You may have to force every second at first but if you make this a habit, I promise it will get easier!
Ways to show affection this week:
Hug You Kids – even the teens, they may act like they don’t want it at first but keep trying-they need you still!
Say I Love You – this sounds like a crazy thing to even suggest, but you would be amazed how many children, especially older ones who haven’t heard that in a long time. DADS- this is for you too! Tell your children that you LOVE THEM, do not have regrets!! You would be shocked to know that many kids truly don’t believe you love them at times. They don’t always have the reasoning to see it through other ways; some children tend to focus on the bad things they feel they do too much, so TELL THEM, leave no room for doubt.
Reach out at hard times – Acknowledge your children’s trials. They may seem trivial to you, an argument with a friend at school, trouble with a teacher, struggles with homework, or just a relationship problem with a sibling. Let them know you are praying for them, that you care, and help them with problem solving so they can learn for their future! Your home should be the safe place. I don’t mean that they shouldn’t face consequences when they need to but it should be safe to be them, to grow, and to grieve!
Learn their Love Language – this is going to be a post all of its own in the 31 Day Series Gary Chapman wrote a great book called The 5 Love Languages of Children! Once you learn it, show specific things to your kids with their love language. Wow, will you make points with this! It will help build relationships that can stand the test of time!!
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