One of the most Loving Words you can Say to a Child

RUBEN PADILLA writes…

A few weeks ago my six-year old son was hitting a baseball in the front yard with his grandfather and out of nowhere asked the following question.

“Grandpa, do you care about me?”

My dad was stunned, and replied, “Of course! I love you very much!”

“I know you love me,” my son said. “But do you care about me?”

His Grandpa assured him that, yes, he cared for him deeply.

Later, when we were alone, I asked my son why he asked the question.
His reply was eye opening.

“Grandpa let’s me do whatever I want. He never says “no” to me.”

On some level, my son equated a lack of discipline for a child with a lack of care. And in a way, he may be on to something…

Children are searching for boundaries. They want them, they need them, and they look to us to define them. Grandpa wasn’t being a bad relative, but by letting my son do whatever he wished (within reason), he was sending mixed signals to a child who is looking for guidance.

Tonyo Melendez and I often meet parents who are at a loss for how to deal with their kids. They feel they’ve tried everything and their only option left is to let their children do whatever they want and learn from their own mistakes. While this rarely works, it may also tell the child that they’re not cared for, even when this is clearly not the case.

In our Learning is M.A.G.I.C. Parental Workshop (entitled Parenting is M.A.G.I.C.) we strive to give parents strategies that, when implemented, communicate a parent’s love for their children through action. It’s easy to say, “I love you” or “I care about you”, but how do we manifest these feelings in a tangible way?

With boundaries.

With demonstrable actions.

With what we say “no” to.

Remember, Parenting is…

Making an example
Asking questions
Giving unconditionally
Involving yourself
Communicating your love each day

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