As parents, there are some things we hope our children will learn from us and others we sincerely hope to skip this generation. However, when it comes to the ability to love and be loved, we all hope to set a great example for our children. Coming from a home where both parents loved and cherished each other I was able to experience what it was to love and be loved. Unfortunately, my own marriage didn’t turn out the way my parents did but that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t show my own kids love. Today I have one of my favorite guest poster Alyssa Craig sharing some tips on how you can teach your children how to love.
Happy marriages are key to happy children. When a marriage is unhappy or there is distance between spouses, this can often project negative consequences onto the child. Your relationship now will affect how your children view and take part in relationships in the future. What kind of relationship do you want your child to have with their future spouse? Is that the relationship they currently see modeled at home? Here are a few things that will help you to have a happy marriage and teach your children how to love and be loved:
Love Your Spouse
Your Spouse is #1: Your marriage should be your top priority. Yes, this even means above your children. When you build a solid relationship, you create a basis for a home where love can be easily felt and expressed, strengthening all relationships within it.
Model Respect: Show that a romantic relationship should be a partnership of equals, filled with respect for one another. Let your kids see you making decisions together, enforcing rules set together and compromising when the two of you disagree.
Be Openly Affectionate: Allow your children to see signs of affection like holding hands, kissing, cuddling, and small gestures of appreciation, like flowers. They may make a face or saw “ew”, but they need to know their parents’ love is genuine.
Show Compassion: When your spouse is in pain, frustrated, sad, or anxious show that you are sympathetic and willing to help them. This is especially important in situations when you may not completely understand why they are upset.
Be Protective: Do not allow anyone to disrespect or speak poorly of your spouse and that includes yourself and your children. You will not only teach them respect, but you will also show your children the level of importance your relationship has in your life.
Have a Weekly Date Night: This means away from the kids. Show the children your relationship is important enough to give individual focus to each other on a regular basis and that you look forward to and enjoy spending time together.
Be Romantic: Look for ways to make small romantic gestures. Bring home flowers, dance in the kitchen, give their arm a squeeze as you walk by, cook their favorite meal, or buy their favorite treat.
Exemplify Good Human Behavior: Show your children that a loving relationship involves treating the other person well. Demonstrate good listening abilities, apologize, and grant forgiveness.
Love Your Children
While your spouse is #1, your children should definitely come next. Don’t forget to show them you love them too and are aware of their need to feel loved:
Show and Say “I Love You”: Express your love to them through your actions as well as your words. Tell them how much you love them, praise them for a job well done, and acknowledge their positive attributes and talents. Throughout the day leave them notes of love, give them hugs, and tuck them into bed at night with a kiss.
Address Difficult Topics: Divorce is a difficult and confusing event for children, whether it be a divorce close in your family or when they see how it affects their friends. If someone close to your child is going through a divorce, take the time to sit down with your child to discuss it. Help them to understand it is something that has to do with the parents’ relationship and the children are never to blame.
Help Them Practice Love Now: Practice makes perfect so help your child look for ways to cultivate their ability to love. Encourage your child to exhibit love and respect to everyone around them, whether it is patience toward other family members, kindness to a stranger, or writing a nice note to a friend.
As scary as it seems, your little ones are always listening and watching your every move. Be sure to create a relationship with them, and especially with your spouse, that will teach them how to really love.
Let’s discuss: What other ways do you teach your children how to love?