We think about our children’s future all the time, we envision what profession they would pursue, and what adventures they’d embark on. It’s every parent’s dream to want the best for his or her child and that is absolutely necessary and beautiful. A child’s development is mostly affected by the family he or she is born into since the family is the child’s first social group. Immediately after a child is born, that child’s development starts to take place physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally. As a parent, you need to consider how you are supporting your children’s development throughout the day in order for those children to get an all rounded development. From infancy through childhood, research shows that holding babies and continuing to show love and affection to children through physical touch and affection is an important part of their development and well-being.
It is a known fact that parents are older but that is not an excuse to disregard showing affection to your children. I grew up in a culture where showing affection to your children was very uncommon. Take for example, most parents never apologize to their children even when they are wrong because it is perceived to be a taboo. For few children in my culture whose parents are open minded enough to apologize, they are considered lucky.
Being that parents are older. In my culture, they are perceived to be embodied with perfection, and they are held to high esteem. Which makes them not justify their actions when necessary. Children are required to comply with adult demands, to avoid irritating parents and they dare not question the reasoning behind instructions given out by parents. For children who grow up in my type of culture, they learn respect for authorities and they function as a pleasant, cooperative family member. However, the cons outweigh the pros because these children would grow up to be timid among their peers, lack a positive relationship with adults, they would say yes to every instruction given, they would not be able to stand up for themselves, they would feel inferior, and the list goes on. These are negative attributes that a parent’s affection could have prevented. No one is perfect, not even parents. A lot of people are not educated enough to know that showing a child affection leads to more happiness when the child grows up, and a healthy and happy life for the future.
Parents, when you build a healthy relationship with your children, they become securely attached to you. They’d be more likely to obey you, and they’d look up to you as a positive influence and guidance. How you interact with your children when they are young helps them develop social skills and sets up their relationships as adults. Find ways as a parent to show affection to your children of course one that is most comfortable to you and them.
Ways to Show Affection to Your Children.
1. Physical Touch/ affection: This tip is advisable for infants and younger children because as children mature into adolescent age, they get very uncomfortable with physical touch from their parents. Physical touch consists of hugs, cuddling, and kissing. Take a moment to squeeze in those kids, give them a tight hug after you pick them up from daycare or school. Did you know a tight hug for 20 seconds everyday goes a long way in a child’s life? Because it aids in high self-esteem, a healthy parent – child relationship, well behaved children in society, it builds social skills, and it raises children’s spirits immeasurably. Science has shown that positive touch lowers depression. On the contrary, children who do not often get physical affection from their parents, tend to have low self-esteem, and they become anti – social.
Skin to skin: This is an example of showing physical affection from a parent to an infant. I always advise moms and dads I work with including people I am familiar with to initiate skin to skin immediately after the baby is born. Doing skin to skin teaches an infant trust, safety, love, protection, and security. Another example for infants is,
Pick up your crying child: In some cultures, moms are advised to leave infants to cry for a longer time because they believe that when infants are picked up immediately, they get spoiled. They also believe that leaving an infant to cry for an extended period of time aids in the lung development of the child. These are myths with no scientific research to back it up. An infant cries because that is his or her way of communicating. Depriving an infant from early affection leads to a sense of neglect, and a higher level of the stress hormone cortisol. As humans, we are wired to crave touch and we require it for normal physical, social, and emotional development to occur.
As children grow older into their mid childhood, it is advised for parents to role play with their children because this gives room for a lot of hugs, cuddles, and kisses. With activities like dancing, co sleeping during the day, random hugs just because they are adorable. For toddlers, holding their hands as they walk is a form of affection because it makes them feel secure.
2. Apologize: Parents should learn to apologize to their children and it shouldn’t feel awkward and uncomfortable. Our children mimic our actions faster than they hearken to our words because parental influence among all other influences has a greater attribute in shaping a child’s future. When we apologize to our children, we validate their feelings by demonstrating to them that we all make mistakes and that is okay because we are humans but provided, we take responsibility for our actions. In addition, apologizing to children builds a ground of trust between parents and their children because when you apologize to them you model for them the value of honesty and humility.
3. Listen to them: Earlier, I mentioned family being the first social group a child gets exposed to before any other. As our children get older, they begin to encounter life experiences and a lot of distress from peer groups, to academic stress, and then bodily changes from puberty. All of these experiences bring forth frustration and exhaustion for children. It’s very understandable that parents also have a lot on their plates. But, it is very compulsory that you create time for your children free of undivided attention to share and talk about what they have in mind. By communicating with them, you are directly telling them that they are worthy of your attention, it builds friendship and trust between a parent and child because they will always confide in you as a gist partner or someone they can share their stress with. Being an active listener to your children is a very important skill that you need to have because when you make having conversations and listening difficult to have with your children, that results in them finding solutions amongst their peers which in return will cause them to go astray.
4. Say no to comparisons: Your children want to please you every day because they enjoy the positive reinforcement they get when they make you happy. Sometimes, their best might not be enough and this is where you come in as a parent. If they are having troubles with an area of improvement, talk to them calmly and ask them what you can do to help and improve their skills. Do not compare them to anyone else because this brings upon them a low self-esteem, anxiousness, and stress. My late father always said, “Not every finger is equal but, every finger serves a purpose.” And I say this to say ‘comparison is the killer of joy’ when we compare our children, we make them feel so belittled compared to other children their age. Comparing your children actually makes you lose out on experiencing the unique talents that they are blessed with.
5. Encourage & uplift them: Not every one of your children will be gifted with the same interests and talents. One might be extremely talented and focused in arts, while the other might be academically driven. This is great because it brings forth great purposes to your family. By encouraging and uplifting your children, you boost their self-confidence, ignite their drive to do better, and open up their curiosity to explore. Also, encourage them to be intrinsically motivated and not rely on external validation from social media, peers, teachers etc. By being self motivated, it helps them to stay on track when no one is clapping and cheering them on. In addition, always remind them of their strengths and why you believe in them. Most importantly, praise them where praise is due no matter how small of an accomplishment.
6. Respect their space: Children also go through distress, and there will be times when they are not in the mood to be bubbly. As parents, we should respect their space and feelings. When they are ready to share they will open up. This in itself, teaches children about boundaries
7. Say Please: Parents often take advantage of being older people, and they fail to acknowledge that children are humans who are also deserving of respect. The same way that you expect people to say please to you, you should also do the same for your children. Doing this teaches them to respect you more and also hold you at a place of high prestige because of your humility
8. Say I love you: Above all, always tell your children that you love them. Growing up, my parents never said I love you but that is because of the culture difference. As a parent, my husband and I say it all the time to our son because saying I love you to your children teaches them that they are valuable, it makes them know that you are trustworthy as a parent, it makes it easy for them to make corrections, it teaches them to express their feelings, and it takes away fear from them.
Sowing the seed of affection in your children leads to a higher self-esteem, a healthy parent- child relationship, boosts confidence, improved academic performance, and fewer psychological and behavior problems. As your children grow up, respect their individual comfort level and change up the ways you show them affection.
Ending this post with a birthday shoutout to myself. What a time to be alive. I am blessed.
Happy Birthday to me. #MrsYanney
As always, see you beauties on my next blog post. Be sure to leave comments, and suggestions on topics you’d be interested in. Remember to stay kind, and gentle to yourself . Do not forget that showing affection to your children goes a long way in their lives.
See you soon !!! 🙂