Many positive and negative behaviors have their roots in whether our children feel valued. Sometimes children feel like projects their parents are trying to finish or problems they’re trying to solve. If your kids feel this way, you can turn this around by:
• Teaching them how to change, rather than telling them to change.
• Making sure you’re not asking them to change something that can’t be changed.
• Affirming them for strengths with specific language so they believe you.
Kids need to know they are important in this world — and to us. The more we understand that and make decisions that answer their “Am I important to you?” question with a hearty “Yes,” the more we’ll help our kids find their way in this world.
I remember walking home from school with my friend Jill, knowing our mothers would be waiting for us with their questions. As a kid, I appreciated the genuine interest our moms showed.
I now understand that it may be natural for mothers to cherish their children, but it takes diligence to create nourishing interactions with them. Consider nurturing your relationship with your children through conversation:
Ask curious questions
Ask questions of your children when they are young and it will make them feel comfortable with questions as they get older.
Express an interest
Build connections by learning about the things your kids enjoy — questions about friendship, faith, grades and athletics will all nourish relationship.
Engage in two-way conversations
Encourage kids to both listen and speak, by sharing your beliefs and affirmation with your kids, and by allowing them to ask questions.