– By Beatrice Langa
The majority of normal parents genuinely love their children…even though there are some abnormal parents, who for reasons of their lack of normalcy do not love their children.
To the normal ones that do love their children, the big question is, are the children getting that message?
Parents tend to interpret “providing for the family” as being the same as love for family. As long as you make sure they have shelter, food, clothing, education and healthcare and as many other extras are possible. Those are good things and loving parents ought to ensure that those provisions are made for their families. However, love goes much, much deeper than that.
Communicating love in the family starts with developing an interest in the affairs of the individual family members, knowing what makes them happy, sad, worried, excited, curious, anxious, hopeful and many of the other emotions. That means that there is no end to the time invested in order to get to know these things; talking, listening, laughing, crying, apologizing, sharing, and then all over again. That means there is no end to the time spent together, doing things together…big things, small things, important things and insignificant things. Catching up, stealing stray minutes and spending them bonding, just for the sake of bonding! This gives children a sense of belonging and lots of security.
shared ideas – so share ideas
shared experiences – do lots of things together
Strong connection, a tight knit family that leads to relationships of trust and affection. Children long for the presence of parents and for consistency and openness. This build up the cohesion and unity needed for love and unity in any family unit.
It is important to understand that what will be meaningful to one child, may not necessarily be meaningful to another child, hence the need to treat each child as an individual. Discover how they unpack love, and give it to them the way they understand it, the way that will help them feel loved as individuals. Some will want to play a game; others to talk and be listened to, others will want to enjoy physical closeness, while others will appreciate support in accomplishing difficult tasks.
Go out of your way to do those things for that child. It will take time and creativity and you, like every other parent that has lived before you, have 24 hours each day to work with. So find ways, make time and go ahead and communicate love to that child.
There’s no picture more captivating than a young family out on a walk together; children holding mother’s or father’s hand and walking together. Or picture this: a father sitting with a small child on their lap, engrossed in a story. .
As the children get older, parents become more pre-occupied with earning a living. Children are slowly and subtly left out of their precious time tables, until parent and child become strangers to each other. Then it is harder to communicate love to the stranger. So let’s maintain the closeness that we build almost automatically with the younger children, and build on it for each stage of the child’s development, into the teens and adult hood.
This doesn’t mean it is going to be straight forward or easy. But the built up closeness and intimacy with the children is one incident where the end justifies the means!