Delighting in Your Child

When it comes to expressing love to our children, it’s not necessarily the creativity of activities but your attitude and the consistency in connecting with your child that are so critical.

No matter how you express “I love you” to your children, it doesn’t mean much unless it reassures them that you really do. The look on your face is the first thing that will persuade your child that you love him.

A lesson from my children

I watch my children stampede to the door, crying out “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!” as my husband comes home or bounce down the hall to be the first to get to the door, when a friend arrives. When they see someone special coming, they don’t just call out casually from the living room, “Just come on in…” They don’t look up briefly from their picture puzzles or the television and mumble, “Oh,… hi.” Instead, each time they treat the arrival like a magnificent homecoming, worthy of a full investment of mind, body, and emotions.

Seizing the moment

When was the last time your face lit up when your child entered the room? When did you last welcome her home with a sweeping hug? Make it a goal to forget how angry she made you yesterday, and smile broadly or perhaps rush to embrace her when she comes home from school.

Choosing a new attitude

Restrict yourself from some facial expressions. No eye-rolling. No glaring. No lack of eye contact. That doesn’t mean you have to be happy, happy, happy all the time. It simply means you will not permit looks on your face that might appear sarcastic, hostile, or indifferent. Loosen up your face, hold your gaze a little longer than usual, and smile broadly. And when your child smiles back, you’ll discover that it is infectious.

Sounds simple enough? The reality is that the demands and pace of life can make it tough to consistently delight in our children. You need to be intentional, maybe even leaving yourself notes in a few places that remind you to “Light up!” and check your attitude.

When you deliberately choose a new attitude toward your child, new actions will begin to flow from that. They may not be the most creative in the world, but believe me, your child will not care. A good old-fashioned bear hug can be just as powerful as a cutesy little sandwich with the words “You’re special” written on it.

An excerpt from the book: Delight in Your Child’s Design, a Focus on the Family resource by Laurie Winslow Sargent. © 2010 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.