Effectively Relating to Our Children: What is Love ?

What is Love?

We all want the same things in our relationships with our children. We want them to accept our love, to feel our warmth, to want to listen to our instructions, and to make responsible decisions. Why is it that some parents are able to effectively relate to their children and some are not? The answer is that parents who are successfully able to relate to their children are conveying the true definition of love to them.

What is the exact definition of love?

Love = Attention + Affection.

The two main components of love are attention and affection. Parents must offer these two aspects of love in order to produce feelings of healthy love in children. As a bonus point, when you give proper attention and affection, you are giving children the proper training ground to be involved in healthy relationships throughout their lives.

What is Attention?
Attention is being sensitive and responsive to a child’s needs. The needs can range from reaching something on a high shelf, to listening to a child’s feelings, to feeding a hungry child. If the child feels that when he or she needs something the parent or teacher takes that need seriously, he is receiving proper attention and ultimately feeling loved. That, combined with affection, is what we call love.

Give Undivided Attention at Least Once a Week
Undivided attention means that your child feels like you are not thinking about anything else in the world besides him. You obviously can’t give undivided attention to a child all the time, but if you can do it at least once a week for about a half hour or so you will be saving yourself a lot of pain in the future.

You can make it really important to the child by putting it on your calendar. You can write “Special Albert Time” on the calendar, and let your child choose a fun activity. Your calendar might say “Painting with Albert on Wednesday at 4:00 PM.” That would certainly make Albert feel very important. Remember not to do or look at anything else during that special time. Allow your child to feel like during this time nothing else in the world exists.

What is Affection?

Affection is the physical and emotional warmth we give to our children. It is the most powerful medium that we possess for communicating love. Hug and kiss your children for as long as they are comfortable with it. If your children have reached an age where they are uncomfortable with you hugging and kissing them, find other ways to fulfill their human need for affection. Give them high fives, play-wrestle, put your arm around them, etc. Remember, children who get healthy doses of affection are able to give love more readily to others.

How Will Your Children Benefit From Love?

Feeling loved decreases opposition. Children who feel loved are far more likely to listen to their parents. Think back to when you were a child. You responded to teachers that you felt warm feelings towards, and didn’t respond to teachers who did not make you feel loved. When I speak to children about being compassionate, I start off my conversation by asking them if they remember something really nice that a teacher once said to them. Most children are excited about sharing something positive that a teacher said to them. After a child shares the episode, I ask, “How many years ago was that, and the child says, “One, three, four, ten, etc.” I then ask that same child what he ate for lunch last Tuesday. He usually laughs, as the child says, “I don’t remember.” Then I answer with, “Aha, you remember when a teacher did something kind to you four years ago, but you can’t remember what you ate last Tuesday.”
Then I continue to ask the child if he or she remembers a time when a teacher said something not so nice to them. The child will make a face and nod. I then ask how many years ago it happened. Again, they answer with, “A year ago,” or “three years ago.” I proceed to ask them if they remember what they wore last Monday. Of course no one remembers. It is at that point that I explain to the student the everlasting effects of being kind and compassionate. I go on to tell them that our souls are wired for kindness and giving, and that is why our souls remember acts of love and acts of non-love, but do not remember petty things like lunches and outfits even if they happened more recently. You can do this mental exercise yourself. Think of teachers who made you feel loved or unloved, and think of how motivated you were with each one.

The Greatest Teacher

Fortunately, I am acquainted with a lot of excellent teachers, but there is one particular teacher that stands out in my mind as being known for her amazing classroom management skills. Even when she has taught the most difficult children, she has always managed to motivate them to listen. I heard all about her and wanted to learn her secret to getting these difficult children to cooperate. I sat in the back of her class a few times.
Her secret was simple, yet profound. This brilliant teacher runs her entire class on love. She makes each child feel like ten million dollars. She smiles at them, sending them a message that she is happy to see them. She also leaves personal notes on their desks, hugs them, and plays board games with them during recess. They love her back so they listen to her.

Human Beings Were Created to Love (or Give)

Love is very impressionable. Children remember the times they received love and the times when they did not. Even as an adult, I am sure that it’s easier for you to cooperate with people who make you feel like they like you.

Homework: Think back to who your favorite teacher was, and decide what he or she did to convey messages of true concern for you. Copy that style of communication with one kid once a day.




tags / love, motivate child, what is affection, showing affection, positive motivation for children, express love