The instructor of our “Marriage and Family Relations” class in church listed six important things we need to make sure our kids receive from us.  Since I am busy getting ready to participate in a boutique tomorrow and don’t have much time to post, I thought I’d share those six important things here quickly and then get back to boutique “stuff.” 

1.  Listen.  Our kids need us to listen to them.  Not just nodding and saying mmmhmmm as we work to finish some task we deem important.  We need to stop doing what we are doing and really listen to them.  We need to seek understanding as we listen.  Most of the time kids just want to feel like they have been understood.  Listening to understand will help to validate their feelings.  We don’t have to agree with what they are saying, but letting them know that we do understand how they could feel a certain way will go a long way in preserving and strengthening our relationship with them.

2.  Show physical affection.  Hug your kids.  Give them a pat on the back.  Even just a small touch on their knee in the middle of an intense conversation will help to diffuse negative emotions.  Humans need human touch.  Make sure your kids not only hear that you love them, make sure they get to literally feel it. 

3.  Give positive feedback.  Give your kids sincere compliments.  Catch them being good and verbally express your gratitude for what they are doing.  And it doesn’t always have to be compliments.  Laugh at their jokes.  Listen to their favorite song.  Let them know that you are wearing the new lotion they gave you for Christmas.  Kids love to be acknowledged in their efforts and in their interests.

4.  Give kids responsibility.  Give kids chores to do around the house.  A part of being a member of a family is doing their part to make the home a home.  Make them responsible for their homework, their practice schedule, and keeping their room organized.  Make the responsibilities age appropriate.

5.  Teach them.  The home is the best place to learn values.   Is honesty important to you?  The value of work?  Modesty and humility?  Proper manners?  Teach your children the values that are important to you.  Teach them through your example and through experience.  Show them how to make a meal, change a tire, or fix a faucet.  Show them honesty by being honest yourself.  Read them stories and anecdotes that reinforce the values you are trying to teach.  Make one night a week a time for family, and use the time to teach what is most important to you.

6.  Consequences.  Don’t rescue your children.  Let them experience the consequences of their actions.  Set firm limits and rules and stick to them.  When rules are broken, stick to the consequences.  Allow the school to discipline your child if they get out of hand and then reteach the value at home.  Don’t rob your kids of learning experiences by ignoring consequences.

The first three items above show kids that they are lovable.  The last three show them that they are capable.

Have a great weekend!