I don’t know if you had a good example of love from your parents or not. Maybe they were a great example of showing love or maybe you grew up feeling that you weren’t loved or valued at all. Either way, it doesn’t need to affect how we parent our children. We can learn how to make our children feel loved and valued, even if we didn’t have a good model of it in our own lives. We can learn from the author of love Himself — Jesus.
Why is it Important for your Child to Feel Loved and Valued?
In John 13:34, Jesus tells us to love others as He loved us. He loved us enough to die on the cross in our place! Jesus also says that we show that we love Him by our love for each other! That includes our children. So, why is it important for our children to feel loved? What happens when a child doesn’t feel loved?
Our kids are special. They were uniquely created by God. By showing that we love and value our children, we are helping them to grow strong and confident into who God created them to be. Children who feel loved will also be more resilient and have a greater capacity for connection and relationship with those around them.
When a child doesn’t feel loved, you can expect the opposite behaviors. They will show lack of confidence and strength. They will be less likely to connect in healthy relationships and therefore be more vulnerable to bullies and predators of all kinds.
Can you Show a Child too much Love?
When our children are babies, they need plenty of love, affection, snuggles, and kisses. They need to feel safe and cared for in order to develop properly. As our children grow, they continue to need love and affection. They need to feel valued. However, it is possible to love them and protect them so much that they begin to be too dependent on you. They become controlling and manipulative. As with most things in life, there needs to be balance.
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How do I make my Child Feel Loved?
Do you want to know how to love your child? Even if you know you’re showing your child love, are you showing it in a way they understand and feel? We want them to feel loved and valued as individuals.
Ways to show love to your child
If you’re looking for ideas, let’s get into some ways you can show love to your child. This list is not exhaustive, but it will get you started in learning about your child and valuing them for who God made them to be.
- Learn their love language. Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages of Children, talks about how everyone feels love differently, and this includes our children. We want to make sure we’re giving them love in a way they can feel. Do you know what your child’s love language is?
- Be attentive. To be attentive to your child, be sure to look them in the eye when talking with them. Put your phone down and give them your full attention. Truly listen and ask questions.
- Be positive around them. Speak life to them and build them up. Smile as you interact with them. Enjoy being with them. Emphasize their talents and the right things they do. Compliment and give genuine praise. This is a simple way to show your child love.
- Encourage their passions. As I’ve already mentioned, each of our children are unique and that includes different passions and talents. God often gives us these passions to use for His glory. Encourage your child to pursue what they love. Don’t compare them to others, especially their siblings. Even with having the same parents, they’re all so special and different from each other.
- Show affection. I’ll admit that I’m not a super affectionate person. However, we should still strive to give a touch and hug here and there, especially if you realize your child’s love language is physical touch. Even as they grow, our children still need that.
- Say the words. Don’t just show them you love them in many ways, you need to actually say, “I love you.” Say it often, and make sure that your words and actions aren’t conditional on their behavior. They need to know they are loved even when they mess up. That’s how God loves us.
- Show up. You should be your child’s biggest fan. If at all possible, show up to their events, whether it’s a game or recital, or another big event as they get older. Be there for them in their big moments.
- Meet their needs. Obviously, you need to feed, clothe, and shelter your children; but make sure you’re meeting their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs as well. They need to feel safe and secure, knowing that you’re doing whatever you can to take care of them.
- Keep your promises. Your child will feel valued and respected when you follow through with what you say you will do. They will also learn from your example.
What does the Bible say about the role of a mother? To learn more about being a godly mother, check out these 10 characteristics of a good mother according to the Bible.
How to make an older child feel special
When our children grow up and become tweens and teens, they still need to feel loved and valued. They need to feel that they are special and unique. Here are some ways we can love and value them.
- Ask their opinion. Some kids are more opinionated than others, but we need to start asking and valuing their opinion as they grow. Help validate their thoughts and make them feel special. This will also communicate respect to your older child.
- Learn about their dreams. There are some children who know what they want to do from a young age. They know what they love and they’re good at it. For example, my daughter has been writing “books” since she was about six or seven. She still has a passion for writing and is working toward publishing several books. My son has wanted to be a paleontologist since he was three! Now I have another one who is a tween and is still figuring out what he loves and is good at. It doesn’t matter where your child fits on the spectrum, listen and dream with them. God has a purpose for each of our children.
- Set boundaries. Your teenager may not feel that this is showing love, but setting boundaries for our children at all ages creates a positive and loving environment for them. Boundaries show that we care about their well-being, and they will do much better with boundaries in place than without them.
- Validate their feelings. Our tweens and teens’ feelings can be all over the place. Some are especially dramatic in showing and sharing their feelings as well. We should support them by validating that their feelings are real and normal. As we validate them, we also should point out that feelings do not necessarily equate to what is true and right. Point them back to God’s truth.
Model the Love of Jesus
We love because Jesus loved us first. The way we live our lives in front of our children can really point them toward or away from Jesus and His truths. Let’s love our children unconditionally and in a self-sacrificial way as Jesus loves us.
How do you show your children love? Do you know your child’s love language? I’d love to hear your input below.
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