Can you ever be too loving? This week’s Parent Coaching Question

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I’m writing a new book for Random House all about toddlers that will be out next year and I’ve been pondering whether as parents we can ever be toooo loving.

I don’t think we can – because I’m not talking about spoiling them with gifts but spoiling them with love, TIME, hugs and the gift of listening attentively to them.

I think parents need to get rid of that old wives’ tale that hugging them, holding them or telling them you love them is spoiling them. I often think that if the world paid more attention to the well being and self esteem of children generally the world would be a better and happier place.

I can think of many children who suffered because their parents were too busy, too stressed or too preoccupied to spend time with them. I have never met a child who was worse off because their parents loved them too much. It’s just not possible. A child won’t be harmed by being told every single day that you love them, think they are special and know they are unique and wonderful.

They won’t be harmed by words that develop their self esteem and self confidence. Dad’s don’t need to worry that too much love will interfere with their son’s masculinity or that too much kindness will make their child fragile, because when children genuinely feel loved, they develop a strong sense of security which makes them less needy. The healthiest, most balanced adults are the ones that can express their love easily, undeniably and unconditionally because they experienced unconditional love from an early age.

What some parents think is showing too much love is really just giving things in place of love – material things like i-pods or computers, trainers or handbags.

Children spell love T-I-M-E and being too lenient, too laissez faire, having low expectations or no boundaries are the real culprits to unhappy children.

Children need plenty of physical affection – and not just when they are toddlers or little ones. We are tactile creatures and we all have a natural need for physical contact with others. It nurtures us and sustains us in a busy, hectic, demanding technological, cyber – driven world.

Children are no different to adults in their need for acceptance, praise and physical hugs.

The foundation for a strong family is the wonderful relationship between a parent and a child that is based on emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual and physical bonding. The secret is to make your affection appropriate to the circumstances and don’t embarrass your kids like I did at the school gate when my son was 12 and I gave him a big hug in front of all his mates! A tussled hair approach or a pat on the shoulder is far cooler for your teenager than a great big sloppy kiss on the cheek!

<Words of Wisdom>

 Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.  ~Charles R. Swindoll, The Strong Family

What are your thoughts?

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