Ideas for Parents
Easy Ways to Build Assets for and with Your Child
Love and support. It sounds easy. We know we get it. Everyone does. Right?
But giving your child consistent love and support can be tricky. How often does your child feel supported when you come home from an exhausting day and they want to talk – but you want a break?
When your child messes up, do you provide support rather than discipline?
Young people know our body language. They listen to what we say – and don’t say. They notice when our words and our actions don’t match.
Supporting and love our children refer to the many ways we affirm, love, and accept them, both verbally and nonverbally. When we hug them or say “I Love You,” the expression is obvious. Paying attention to them, listening to them, and taking an interest in that they are doing are less obvious ways of giving support, but they are just as important.
The next time you are exhausted, say so. If you’re mad, be honest. If you don’t tell your child what you are feeling, he or she will read one message for your body and hear the opposite. Children usually interpret inconsistent messages as meaning they have done something wrong.
Be consistent. Be loving. Develop and openness so that your child always knows that you’re available and you’ll love him or her – no matter what.
Youth are more likely to grow up healthy when their families provide them with high levels of love and support.
70% of youth surveyed by Search Institute have this asset in their lives.
Tips that make love your child easier:
q Loving touches mean a lot. Hug. Put your arm around your child. Comb your child’s hair.
q Use loving words. Try: “I think you’re terrific” “I Love You” “I care about you”
q Be loving in your interactions. Look your child in the eyes when you talk with her or him.
q Tell your child when he or she does something that makes you feel loved or cared for.
Three ways to be supportive of your child:
Hide an affirming note somewhere for your child to find.
Questions to discuss with your child:
If you were to write new messages to put on candy hearts, what would they say?
When have you felt most supported by our family? Least supported?
How can our family support each other more?
“The one thing that children need most to grow up happy and secure is a close-knit, loving family.” – T. Berry Brazelton, MD