I usually write blogs about dating and relationships. Today I am changing my focus to talk about children. I was watching my two young girls playing in the kitchen the other day. I started thinking about what they really need to grow up to be emotionally healthy adults.
We all know that children need the basics of food, water, a safe place to sleep, and clothes to wear. But what else do they really need from us? Children have emotional needs that are just as important as their physical needs.
- Unconditional Love
One of the most important things we can give our children is unconditional love. Most people have heard this term but what does it really mean and how do we give it to our children? Children need to feel valued and wanted by their parents. They need to know they are accepted for who they are, not just when they are doing what we want. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to let them know we value them as a whole person. This means the good sides and the not so good sides of their personalities. What an amazing gift to give someone, to accept them for who they are at all times. This does not mean you do not discipline them or teach them right from wrong but you do value them as a person always and they know it!
- Time to be a child
I was watching my girls dance in the kitchen the other day. They were completely engaged in expressing themselves and having fun! They had no concerns about what they looked like, how they were performing, or what anyone else thought of their performance. They were completely happy just being a children. As parents, we can get so caught up in sending our children to lessons and keeping them busy that we forget they are children. I am not saying lessons and activities are bad, but do our children have enough time to play and enjoy their childhood? Structured activities are ok but not necessary for a child to grow up emotionally healthy. It is necessary for them to have enough free time to explore their world and enjoy simple pleasure in life. I believe we have a generation of children who are far too dependent on being entertained and kept busy.
- Spend quality time together
The other essential thing our children need from us is our time and attention. Some of my favorite memories as a child are sitting in my grandmother’s lap while she read to me. I felt completely safe, loved, cherished and accepted. It was very clear to me that there was no place she would rather be. So carve time out of your busy daily life to spend quality time with your children. Tuck them in at night, give hugs and kisses, read to them, eat dinner together, or spend time talking about their day. Let your children know they are worthy of your time and attention and that you love them for who they are, not just for what they do.
How children are raised will affect their relationship with themselves and others when they become adults. We bring our upbringing into our adult relationships, usually without even realizing it. Our children and their futures are worth our time, attention and effort.
If you enjoyed this article, please use the buttons below to share it on social media or leave me a comment.
For more information, listen to my “Ask Lori” radio show every Thursday at 8:30 pm on www.WGIVCharlotte.com/ask-lori.html , click the “listen now” button.
Lori Ann Davis, MA, CRS
Certified Relationship Specialist