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Do Your Children Know You Love Them?

Christian parents show love for their children by providing for their spiritual needs. They teach their children about Jesus—his loving sacrifice on Calvary to win salvation for them. And they discipline their children, using God’s Word to guide and direct behavior.

Giving time and attention to your children also shows your love for them. Parents need to be involved, spend time with their children, talk and listen to them, share their dreams and ideas. Some people promote the idea that the quality of the time spent together will make up for not spending much time together. Children need both, quality time and a large quantity of it.

While children do realize parental love from the things parents do for them, they also need to hear it. Hearing “I love you” makes adults feel special. These words do the same thing for children. Learn how to put your love into words. High drama isn’t the objective. Nor are emotional displays. Simple communication is the whole point. Any time. Any place. Just say it: “I sure am happy that God gave you to me!”

Children also understand love through physical signs of affection. When mothers brought their children to Jesus for his blessing, Jesus not only spoke the words of blessing, he also gave a physical sign. We are told he “placed his hands on them” (Matthew 19:15). Children need to have hugs and kisses. They need to cuddle and wrestle. Obviously, as they get older, the forms of physical affection will change, but the need for it does not.

Some parents shy away from giving physical signs of love to their children. They say they are not a demonstrative family. Some fathers are particularly reluctant to show physical affection to their children, fearing that it will be misinterpreted. When this occurs, both parents and children are missing out on a wonderful experience. The appropriate physical affection of a father shows the soft side of his love.

From Patient Parenting, by John Juern. © 2006 Northwestern Publishing House. All rights reserved.