His face falls at the dinner table and shoulders droop as I reprimand my son in a loud voice in front of other family and friends. I see the look of embarrassment and fear in his eyes and I immediately regret my actions in shaming him. I decide from that moment to take different action if I find myself in that situation again. We will rather go to a private space where we can have a respectful conversation and come up with a plan. I will not make myself feel bigger as I undermine him. I will show respect and love towards him, even in a trying time.
When was the last time you looked deeply into your child’s eyes for at least 5 seconds? There is no better way to see–or be seen by–a child. Take time to look into their eyes.
Be mindful when you are with your children and respect and cherish the time you have with them.
· Really listen to your child. Don’t interrupt them when they are talking or finish their sentences from them.
· Introduce your child to people. Don’t act as if they aren’t there.
· Ask for hugs and kisses.
· Spend time with each of your children separately. It will be an experience they will never forget.
· Hold hands with your child.
· Always tell your children the truth. Trust over the years will bring it’s won rewards.
· Always give your children hello and good-bye kisses.
· Display their artworks in prominent places. That is what a refrigerator door is for.
· Remember, if your child thinks it’s important, it’s important. Show them you value their opinions and ideas.
· Respect your child’s privacy.
· Be genuinely interested in your child’s day. Ask about how their day went, and let them share their triumphs and disappointments with you. Make sure you listen carefully.
· Make your home a comfortable and safe place for your children to bring their friends, even when they are teen-agers.
· Start a journal for each child when they are born. Write about special moments in their life until they can write in it themselves.
· Do more bragging than nagging.
· When you’re away, call to tell your children you miss them. Make sure they are well cared for while you are gone.
· Share with your children the things that are important to you, hobbies, music, scriptures, education and family traditions.
· If you want your children to confide in you, show them that it is safe to do so first. Don’t break their confidences and share their secrets with your friends.
· Never be embarrassed to give hugs or to say, “I love you” to your children, no matter what age they are.
· Eat meals together as a family, without the distractions of the TV or cell phones. Take this time to just talk to your children.
· Take advantage of “chauffeuring” time for a good chat or even small talk. As they get older make sure you know what music they are listening to.
· Carry up-to-date photos of your children in your wallet or on your cell phone. They love you to show them off.
· PLAY with your children. Go down a slide together, ride a rollercoaster together, play a sport you both enjoy. Teach them to have fun by having fun with them.
· Pray with your children. Nothing will bring you closer than the power of the simple expression of prayer.
· Make a big deal on your child’s birthday. Make them a special dinner. A special day of one’s own is one of the best gifts you can give to your child.
It probably goes without saying, but the best way you can show love to your children is to love each other. So, Mom and Dad, make sure they know you do!