5 Benefits of Parental Love

By Danny Huerta, MSW, LCSW, LSSW
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Close up of happy young child holding her dad's and mom's hands as they show her parental love
Children spell love T-I-M-E. Are you giving enough? Read more about how love is one of the seven essential traits of parenting.

It probably goes without saying that the love of parents is essential to a child’s well-being. God has made children to need parental love, and He’s built into parents the ability give this love. Yet family life gets complicated. Parents are often busy, scattered and tired, and many of us feel guilt about how well we are raising our kids. Am I giving my kids the love they need? we ask ourselves.

“Children spell love T-I-M-E,” the saying goes. So true, yet often so challenging. Our frenzied, active lifestyles conflict with the time our kids really need to sense our love.

Throughout my years of working with families, I’ve learned that authentic parental love is never a guarantee. What’s more, many guilt-stricken parents may misinterpret the kind of love their kids need, trying to make up for lost time by not enforcing boundaries and appropriate expectations.

5 Benefits of Parental Love

The good news is that authentic parental love is a skill that we can learn. It starts with understanding the clear benefits our children receive when they live in a home where “love” is truly spelled “T-I-M-E”:

1. Spiritual Growth

Love is a physical need for children. When our kids receive and learn to give love, they won’t be as thirsty for love from people outside the family. The authentic love of parents helps children develop an identity as a beloved child of God, one who has the capacity and responsibility to share that love with others. 

2. Brain Growth

Research from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, has demonstrated that a mother’s love helps her child’s brain grow—as much as twice the rate as that of a neglected child. Preschoolers who received parental love and nurturing from their moms were found to have more growth in the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in learning, memory and response to stress. This early growth can have a significant effect on their development later in childhood. “It’s vital that kids receive support and nurturing during those early years,” said lead author Dr. Joan Luby.

7 Traits of Effective Parenting Assessment

Good parents aren’t perfect. There’s no formula to follow, but there are ways you can grow every day. Focus on the Family’s 7 Traits of Effective Parenting Assessment gives parents an honest look at their unique strengths, plus some areas that could use a little help.

3. Self-Confidence

The children I have counseled over the years tend to become more self-confident when they feel a genuine and unconditional love from their parents. These children learn to enjoy the moments and experiences of life instead of being worried about what their future holds. Being hyper-focused on the future can create a paralyzing stress. But family environments where parental love is frequently demonstrated—where family members authentically enjoy doing life together—prepare children to boldly face all the questions the future may bring.

4. Strength To Face Adversity

Kids from loving homes tend to better learn to be adaptable. The love of parents gives kids the roots needed to develop resilience and perspective for facing life’s difficulties. Kids are better able to learn perseverance, self-control and patience when they receive authentic, encouraging and supportive words from their parents.

5. A Sense of Security and an Ability To Handle Boundaries

True parental love means helping children appreciate limits and boundaries. And this pays off in our kids’ lives. Kids don’t like boundaries—they actually love them. They enforce them on the playground, they feel safe and secure when they have them, and they feel loved when they remember these moments with parents. Yes, a child’s emotions do get in the way of his liking his parents’ boundaries. His often selfish desire for immediate gratification prevents him from seeing clearly. But even if they won’t admit it, children thrive in a home with loving, clearly defined boundaries.

God’s Model of Parental Love

God’s model of love is authentic and perfect. It is patient, kind, gentle, sacrificial and eternal. God’s love motivated Him to send Jesus to save us. And His love fuels the Christian parent’s love. God loves us no matter what, strengthening us to do the same toward our children.

Parental love can be transforming for you and your child. But it is an endeavor that can always use improvement and refinement. A parent’s love is full of mistakes and mishaps, but it is the essential glue to our imperfect and messy family relationships.

Copyright © 2017 by Focus on the Family


Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

How useful was this article?

Click or Tap on a star to rate it!

Average Rating: 4.7 / 5

We are sorry that this was not useful for you!

Help us to improve.

Tell us how we can improve this article.

About the Author

You May Also Like

Insert CTA Content in New Section Below

Natasha Crain on air

“Raising Your Kids to Defend Their Faith” - Video Series

“Raising Your Kids to Defend Their Faith” is a series of five short videos, created to get you started in teaching your kids the fundamentals of Christianity, so they can understand it, explain it, and defend it.