The things we take for granted…
I had always assumed that a child telling a parent “I love you” or a parent saying “I love you” to a child was as commonplace as saying “good morning”. So you can imagine my surprise when one of the responses we got to our ‘What We Wish Our Parents Knew’ (#WWWOPK) survey was “I have always wanted to tell my mum I love and really appreciate her and thank her for her effort on me. I haven’t told my mum because she is very strict so to tell her is quite difficult”. I thought it was a one-off but alas 5…7…10 responses saying almost the same thing. I knew we had to address the issue.
My take is that if a child is too scared to verbally express love to a parent, chances are that the parent rarely does too. Parenting by fear to the extent that your child is too scared to say “I love you” is not healthy.
In a world where different people and things are trying to sell various versions of “love” to our children, the burden is on us to give them the authentic version and help them gain a balanced perspective of how love should be expressed.
When last did your child tell you they loved you? When last did you tell your child you loved him or her? It’s great to “show” love but there is also a place for verbally expressing it. Saying “I love you” or showing it, should not be limited to only when your child does brilliantly at school or makes you look good in some way. Does your child only says “I love you” when you buy him or her something…errmm…that’s not how it should be.
Creating an atmosphere where genuine, unconditional love can be freely expressed and enjoyed is vital for raising well-balanced children.