If you are reading this, you probably want your kids to know how much you love them. And you probably tell them often that you do. But effectively communicating love is not always so simple. How can we be sure that what we mean as love is received as love? It can take insight, determination and creativity to communicate love messages in ways children can’t miss them.
Tuning into your child will look different based on age and personality. Read how one of our coaching clients, Cassie, discovered how love was best received and remembered with her anxious 4 year old child.
I’ve been doing a simple little thing with Bella when I sense a disconnect, like my affectionate words, or my words of apology or forgiveness aren’t sinking in. I gently ask her if my words went into her heart. If she says no, she pretends to take out a key to the door to her heart, and then she opens the door. Then I whisper my affectionate, apologetic, or forgiving words to her little heart. She closes the door and locks it, and says, “It’s in there, Mom!” It’s been an awesome connection!
How might this look in your family? Below are some helpful, guiding questions and ideas for you to consider.
- Identify a child in your family that might not be opening the “door” of his heart to you. What might be causing that?
- At an age-appropriate level, in what way could you ask about how your love is being perceived? For example: for a younger child, “Is my love sneaking all the way through to the middle of your heart – the place where you really feel it?” Or, for an older child, have an open conversation (mostly listening!) where you ask the following types of questions: “When do you feel the most loved by me? Are there times when I try to communicate love, but it doesn’t feel loving to you?”
- Make a plan to connect more thoughtfully, deeply, and on your child’s terms. Some kids can tell you how your love could get through better. Others need you to be very observant and patient. One mom found out that simply sitting next to her fairly withdrawn daughter while they both colored was a very effective expression of her affection.
Find what works for your child and give it a try!
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