LIFE IN BALANCE- Loving your children 2Adeshola Ezeokoli
In my last blog post, I talked about meeting the basic physical needs of children as a way of loving them. Today I will be addressing their emotional well being and balance.
In our world today, just meeting the basic needs of children is not enough. How you meet their emotional needs for love, acceptance and approval goes a long way to create a balanced human being, who is able to handle himself/herself emotionally.
Show it: First, you have to let your children know, in no uncertain terms, that you love them. Tell them, kiss them, hug them( and yes, this goes for fathers and sons also). Let them know their attributes that you like and the things they do that you appreciate. It could be anything, from being kind, to doing well in math. Children are thirsty for their parents approval, and when it is withdrawn, or never given in the early years, a child later can either become completely rebellious( why should I try they don’t even care); or live constantly, their whole lives searching for the elusive approval from their parents, trying, and trying, but always falling short( in their own eyes). Drown them with love! Let them know that your love is unconditional( conditional love is not love, but that is another conversation). You should tell your children everyday, that you love them and of course back it up with actions.
Spend time with them: I have a problem with the phrase “quality time” sometimes. The value of time is more about the amount of time spent with your child than what you are doing with it. So, which is better, to spend 30minutes rough-housing with your child or to spend 10 minutes constructing something? If someone gave you a small cube of delicious Chateaubriand steak and told you it was “a quality steak”, you would not fall for it. You would want more steak! Having said that, I know we are busy parents. Personally, I have a full time job, two books to promote and a full time ministry, but I realize that I have to prioritize my children over all these things. So I make every single moment I have with them count.
Now, spending time with your children is not you being on the computer while they are in the same room with you. It is engaging with them while you are with them and not treating them as though they are an interruption to your life. Spend time talking with them( yes, even babies need to be talked to), doing things that they like, and just hanging out. Include them in the things that you do. If it is allowed, take them to work with you. Shop with them. It pays off dividends when you spend time with your children because they are able to open up to you, and you get to know things about them that you otherwise would never find out.
Minimize negative words around your children : Do not speak negative words over them. Hand on heart, I have never called my children words like naughty, silly, lazy, stupid, let alone the really bad words. Guess what? There is enough negativity in the world, your children do not need that from you. What if they are being naughty? Calling them names does not produce change in behavior. What if you smoked and your doctor called you a prize idiot. It wouldn’t change your behavior, it would only make you angry. Never give your children the impression that they are flawed, broken, or that they do not measure up. Correct them? Yes. Discipline them? Absolutely. However do not be mean to your children. Don’t tell them that they are ugly. Don’t tell them that they have a “big ole head, just like yer daddy”. Do not wound them with your words.
Words can do damage that words cannot heal.
Do not stifle their expressions: If your child is sad or angry, they should be comfortable enough to talk to you about their feelings. Do not create a home environment where negative emotions are repressed and children are supposed to act happy or stifle their feelings. It creates emotionally stunted human being who has very few skills in handling their own, or other people’s emotions.
Well, I hope that this helped someone. These are just some of the ways in which we as parents can help our children emotionally. I will continue with health related issues in my next post.