In recent years, many research studies have come to the same conclusion: Babies who are held, caressed, and kissed develop a healthier emotional life than those who are left for long periods of time without physical contact.
As a baby grows and becomes more active, the need for touch does not lessen. Hugs and kisses, wrestling on the floor, riding piggyback, and other playful loving touches are vital to the child’s emotional development. Children need many meaningful touches every day, and parents should make every effort to provide these expressions of love.
When your child reaches the teen years, it is important that you show your love in positive ways and also at the right times and places. Mothers should never hug a son in the presence of his peers. He is seeking to develop his own independent identity, and such behavior embarrasses him; it will also likely make him the brunt of jokes later on. However, at the end of the day, in the privacy of the home after the son has had a grueling football practice, his mother’s hug may indeed be received as an expression of love. Some fathers withdraw from hugging and kissing their teenage daughters, feeling that it is inappropriate at this stage. In fact, just the opposite is true. A teenage girl needs the hugs and kisses of her father; and if he withdraws, she will likely seek physical touch from another male and often in an unwholesome manner. But here again, time and place are important. Unless a girl initiates a hug in public, it is well to refrain. But at home, you can take the initiative.
“The tongue has the power of life and death.”
Because you want words of praise to be genuinely meaningful to your child, you need to be careful about what you say. If you use praise too frequently, your words will have little positive effect.
Frequent random praise is risky for another reason. Some children become so accustomed to this type of praise that they assume it is natural and they come to expect it. When they are in situations where such praise is not given, they assume something is wrong with them and they become anxious. When they see other children who do not receive such bolstering, they can wonder why they feel such excessive need of praise.
Of course, we want to praise children we care about, but we want to make sure that the praise is both true and justified. Otherwise they may regard it as flattery, which they can equate with lying.
The greatest enemy of encouraging our children is anger. The more anger the parent harbors, the more anger the parent will dump on the children. The result will be children who are both antiauthority and anti-parent. This naturally means that a thoughtful parent will do all in his or her power to assuage anger—to keep it to a minimum and to handle it maturely.
catch your child doing something good and then commend him for it.
A positive message delivered in a negative manner will always reap negative results.
When your child hears your loving expressions of concern for other young people, he is far more likely to identify with you than when he hears you condemning people who do such things.
The words “I love you” should never be diluted with conditional statements.
Harsh and critical words are detrimental to all children, but to those whose primary language is words of affirmation, such negative words are devastating. And they can play those words in their minds for many years.
Thus, it is essential for parents and other significant adults in the child’s life to quickly apologize for negative, critical, or harsh remarks. While the words can’t be erased by an apology, their effect can be minimized.