Ideas for Parents

Easy Ways to Build Assets for and with Your Child


Love and Support: The Family Foundation


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.


Asset #1 Family Support

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.


Helpful Hints

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.


Time Together

Three ways to be supportive of your child:

  1. Have a weekly family game night. Take turns choosing games.
  2. Spend one hour a week with each child alone. Take a walk, listen to music, or just hang out.
  3. Find out one area where your child is struggling. Listen to your child’s concerns. Help your child think of ways to address the issue.


10 Creative Ways to Care

  1. Do something new together. Instead of a walk, go jogging – or skipping. Have a leaf fight.
  2. If possible, eat at least one meal a day together.
  3. Choose a book to read together as a family. Each day read 10 pages.
  4. Ask what your child’s highs and lows were for the day. Tell about your day.
  5. Every day show love through hugs, words, kisses, and smiles.
  6. Frame your child’s artwork and hang it on the wall.
  7. Give your child space to think, rest, and to rejuvenate.
  8. Lie under the stars together and talk about whatever crosses your mind.
  9. When your feeling stressed, reassure your child that he or she isn’t the reason.
  10. Write “family care” resolutions. Then keep them.


Quick Tip:

Hide an affirming note somewhere for your child to find.


Talk Together

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?


Final Word

“The one thing that children need most to grow up happy and secure is a close-knit, loving family.” – T. Berry Brazelton, MD