Love and Support Overview
Children need love and support from their parents/carer/guardians more than ever before. With horrific statistics saying approximately 50% of children have considered committing suicide it is vitally important parents understand the key role they have in making sure their children feel safe, loved and respected and to fill them with a high level of self esteem and confidence so they can navigate the best possible way around the inevitable crises that will pop up along the way.
It has always been undisputed that a mother's love is extremely important but research by researcher Professor Ronald Rohner (who examined more than 10,000 sons and daughters from 36 worldwide studies) has shown a father's love is equally as important to the healthy emotional development of a child.
But no matter what the family structure, the key thing is to try and follow good commonsense principles to show your child that they are inherently loved and you will support them through thick and thin. However, there is a balance to be had and 'helicopter parenting' is not the way to go.
How can I give love and support to my kids
- Make them feel safe. Kids must feel safe at all times to be happy. This is No.1 Priority.
- Provide basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. This is No.2 Priority.
- A stable family atmosphere is a major Priority too. Parents must focus on a happy marriage and spend time together as well as being mum and dad. An over-focus on children's requirements (too much input) can lead to overstressed, unhappy partners that eventually split up and cause major trauma for the children
- Unconditional love is hugely important. You must love your children for what they are, not for what you want them to be.
- Don't go for intensive parenting. A major concern today is that parents today look on their children as an extension of their own success and try to obtain social mileage from their children's successes. This leads to over-pressurised and overstressed children.
- Interact, play and have fun with your children. Actions speak louder than words and nothing shows your kids your love them more than you doing the things they want to do with them.
- Listen intently to your children. This shows them that you value them as people. Don't let the words wash over you but try to understand what they really feel, good or bad. Try to get a connection going.
- Maintain high integrity and honesty. If you promise them they can do something then stick to your promise. If you have to go against it on a rare occasion make sure you make it up to them as soon as you can. This comes down to being respectful which is the next point.
- Treat your child respectfully. When you ask them to do things, say please and then thank-you afterwards. Take their views into consideration too and allow them to dictate what happens sometimes. Do NOT try to win every discussion.
- Watch carefully to see what they are good at and help them become even better. Maybe your child is good at dancing or soccer or reading. Encourage them and help them get really good. This will give them a real sense of achievement, knowing that they are better than their peers at something (because their peers will be better at other things) and will give a large boost to their inner confidence and self esteem
- Offer guidance. Children need guidance on many aspects of their life and you can use your worldly knowledge to guide them through the million questions they will undoubtedly have. But there is a fine line between this and running their lives for them.
- Give them a shoulder to cry on. If children are feeling sad they need a hug and some emotional support. Always be there for them and never judge them for feeling a certain way.
- Role model good and appropriate behaviour. Shouting and screaming at a bad driver or hitting your children is wrong and teaches your children really bad habits that they will probably copy. On the other hand, if you are full of enthusiasm for life and always turn a potential negative to a positive, then this can really shape your child's attitude in the future.
- From time to time, allow children to come up with their own solutions to problems. Don't jump in at the first sign of difficulties. They will get a sense of pride and will boost their self-esteem by figuring it out themselves. If they are really struggling, give them a hint and let them work the rest out for themselves.
Potential consequences of inadequate love and support
Children who are given poor love and support can develop a number of mental health problems:
- emotionally cold
- low self esteem
- drink or drug habits
- mental health issues
If you want your children to grow up with a great mental attitude and the ability to cope with all of life's stresses and strains then your love and support is vital.