How to Really Love Your Kids

I love my kids.

You love your kids.

It’s part of the whole parenting gig.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that what they need in order to feel loved, isn’t always what I give them.

On any given night, my son will press into my busyness, and ask a question that makes me stop in my tracks. “Want to snuggle?” It makes me stop because I always think, what if this is the last time he asks?

I could have spent the entire day doing things for him, but this is how he receives my love: time spent with him and affection.

I run my daughter to school early for Honor Choir, pay a hefty fee to rent her flute every month, buy her what she needs and sometimes what she wants, and I feel like all these things scream I LOVE YOU.

But she needs me to listen. She tells me of her locker jamming, the new science project, the girl who tries to steal answers from her in class.

It’s in these moments, my kids need me to engage to feel my depth of love for them.

  • Discover how your children receive love best? It’s different for each and it unlocks the key to parenting, to really loving them well
  • Engage-even in the most hectic days, I try to engage with my kids before the day is over. Make eye contact, hold their hand, touch them with assurance and listen
  • Let some things go-their hair, clothes, rooms will never look like we want them to. Reserve the fight for the real battles.

This hangs in my kitchen, near the dinner table:

It’s a constant reminder to live in the moment: to say yes, to laugh more, to stop yelling and love them the most when they are unlovable.

How do you really love your kids?


Comments

  1. 1

    Jamie says

    Oh my gosh, this so spoke to me…especially since my little girl asks me on any given night as well to snuggle…I do it every time because I too think…how many more times will she ask! In fact, she just asked me and said, mommy snuggling sounds like a good idea….

  2. 2

    says

    I buy them lots of presents and take them to Disneyland every other week. Just kidding!

    I’m so glad both of my girls love nothing more than just hanging out one on one and talking. I think I would be a little sad if their love language was gifts. Just saying!

  3. 3

    says

    So many of your posts blow my mind. Sometimes I walk away feeling inadequate as a human being and sometimes I am laughing so hard I cry. But every time you speak its from the heart. In my latest blog post I referenced you and one of your recent blog posts. I hope you don’t mind. Please continue speaking from the heart even when it hurts. Thank you for all that you share and being a transparent Godly woman.

  4. 4

    Sandi says

    We welcomed our second son to our family just six weeks ago, and my 3yo is having a hard time sharing Mommy. He loves his baby brother (calls him “my baby”), but his actions towards me have me wondering if I will ever make him feel secure again. This has been a rough day which ended with me crying to my hubby. Your post has given me hope. I will continue trying to engage with my firstborn on a daily basis. Thank you.

  5. 5

    says

    Thank you. I really cannot begin to tell you how much I needed to hear this tonight. I have three little boys, 2 1/2, 1 1/2, and 4 months. I am physically, emotionally and mentally drained most of my day. Two of my boys have been sick and clingy all week. My oldest is continually asking to be held and I feel like I have so much to do that I just don’t have the time. Thank you for reminding me to slow down and spend the time caring for him the way he needs. I often feel like my days are spent doing things for them and not with them, I want that to change. Again, thank you.

  6. 6

    says

    My 2 1/2 year old son yearns for physical touch. He is constantly saying “I need you, Mommy”. So I hold his hand when we are walking, and hug and love on him during the day, let him sit on my lap at the most inconvenient times, and hold and rock him just a bit every day before nap time and bed time.

    My 3 1/2 year old daughter seems to just need encouragement. As long as I tell her that she has done well on something she was working on, she is happy. She loves to show me whatever she has done…”look, Mommy!”, so that’s what I do. I stop what I’m doing and take the time to look. I tell her how much I like the color red in her art or how nice and round her letter O is. It’s what she needs and I’m more than happy to give it to her.

    My attention, after all, is free…..and I have plenty of it to go around. I’ve always said my house can always be cleaned when my kids are older, but my kids won’t stay young forever.

  7. 7

    says

    wow. i was meant to read this today.
    today when my kids said my name for the 2998535th time
    i responded with *Wwwwwwwwwhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaatttttt…..*
    bad mommy

  8. 8

    lisa says

    thank you for always sharing honestly and so abundantly. i remind myself daily that God has placed a calling on each of my boys lives (6 and 8) and that part of my calling is to love them into what God designed for them…not me. somehow, this helps me slow down and extend grace when we all need it!
    i too think a lot about time and my heart aches when i see how fast they are growing and changing. i absolutely cannot believe that a day will come that they will not be as physically present in my home and daily activities. when my focus is on time and how quickly things can change, gratitude wins, momentum shifts and my insight into their needs increases.
    a friend at a mom’s group once shared that in the really intense moments when frustrations were high, she would throw her hand in the air and say out loud, “Jesus, please come into this moment and help us change it!” It is a great tool for loving and getting the attention of little people and has an awesome effect on everyone!!

  9. 9

    says

    I refuse to stop believing in him, even when he fights me to try and give up on him. (He’s 14, finding independence is at the top of his list, even if it means not living up to his full potential. I refuse to let him talk me out of believing in him).

  10. 11

    Crystal says

    My husband’s love language is different than mine (shocking, I know), and learning that has so improved our marriage. I have a feeling our sons might be the same way. I, too, spend all day long doing things for my kids, precisely because I love them. But really, Jack just wants me to play Monster Chase with him.

  11. 14

    says

    What an awesome post. I have four little boys; 6, 5, 3, and 1, and by the end of the day, (and seriously, sometimes by the middle of the day!) I can sometimes feel totally spent with nothing left to give. I guess that’s the time when I need to look up and get that additional dose of love from my heavenly father to pass onto my children. Thanks for this reminder.

  12. 15

    erin says

    get the book “let me hold you longer” by karen kingsbury and be prepared to ball your face off. my daughter always asks why my voice sounds funny when i read her this book. along the same lines of “will this be the last time…?”

  13. 16

    says

    My six and a half year old misses his Daddy on long 12 hour shifts, so that on the rare occasion he is home for supper, Ben insists on sitting on daddy’s lap to eat dinner and i am realizing this is the only way he can be assured that daddy is staying put and they can have that physical contact time they so desperately need. It used to drive me crazy, I wanted everyone to sit properly in their chair, but really, he won’t be doing this much longer, and daddy actually loves it.

  14. 17

    says

    brought here by my friend peapodsquadmom…. thank you for this post.. I’ve been struggling with workstealing my attention away from my kids. This helps me focus on what they really need….

  15. 18

    says

    oh kristen, i needed this. i love my kids (6yo triplets) with all my heart but i fail miserably at this motherhood thing some days. my fuse gets short, my memory (of how i begged god for this for years) gets short, and my patience runs short. and at the end of the day i sometimes find myself crying at their bedsides…asking for forgiveness as they sweetly sleep. and snuggle time? the very BEST part of parenting. when they stop wanting to do that, i’m going to be curled up in a ball in the corner needing some serious therapy.

  16. 19

    says

    My 7 year old middle child daughter has been on my last nerve today. She’s been “showing her heinie” as we say around here. I was wondering/praying earlier about what has gotten in to her. Then this evening she asked to stay home while her siblings spent the night at grandma’s. Then I heard a song on the radio about showing love to our loved ones because on the inside we all are frightened and need to be reminded that we are loved. And wrap it up with reading your blog. Thank you for reminding me that when they are the most unlovable is when they need our love the most. Kinda like me and God. :-)
    And I love the sign!!

  17. 20

    says

    My son is turning 13 years old on Tuesday. How grateful I am that he still likes to snuggle. Last night, I was caressing his arm the same way I did when he was a newborn, and I remmbered he is still my sweet angel boy whose love language is touch. I know the days are numbered and one day soon, he will no longer seek me out the way he does today, but I pray that every touch I have given him is planted with love deep in his heart. What a privilege it is to be a mother. Thanks for reminding us to cherish these fleetng moments with our kids, for one day they will be gone.

  18. 21

    says

    I need to pay more attention and figure out what my girls love languages are. I am sad to say they are 4, 3 and 7 months and I have no idea.

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