What makes me feel loved
NOTE: For the next three blogs I’m going to be covering some very important parenting issues so don’t miss any of them if you work with children or have others under your care.
In a world full of abandonment people are desperately seeking to feel loved. There are three things that make a person feel loved. If a parent or authority doesn’t do these three things the child or one under authority will not feel loved no matter what else is done to love them. This works with your own children as well as students and employees you may lead.
The first necessity for feeling loved is EYE CONTACT. Most parents and leaders only give eye contact when they are angry. Children need this so much that they will act out to make a parent angry just to get some eye contact. This of the three actions needed to make someone feel loved, is actually the easiest to do but you must be intentional about it. Most parents and leaders focus so much on their own stuff that they virtually ignore others unless they are bothering them with interruptions. Here’s how to easily fill this void. As a parent, when you enter a room your child is in, look at the child until you catch their eye then smile or wink and walk on. If you speak to the child hold eye contact both to speak and to listen for a few seconds then look away or down. Return your eye contact periodically during the conversation but don’t stare at them. Boys especially talk better when you don’t look at them but they need initial eye contact to affirm your full attention on them and their worth. This works great for employees as well, but I don’t recommend winking.
The second necessity for feeling loved is PHYSICAL CONTACT. This doesn’t have to be ooey gooey hugs. A pat on the shoulder or upper back (a sound thump for boys) as you walk by can be enough. Now hugs and kisses especially for pre-teens are very important and should be generously doled out but for a teen a side shoulder hug may be plenty. You have to be very careful here with students and employees. Keep touch short and solid, a pat on the top of the shoulder or upper back may be accepted but anything anywhere else on the body or held too softly or for longer than a quick second can be read as sensual and cause a lot of trouble. They need it to feel valued but please be extremely discerning here.
The third necessity for feeling loved is FOCUSED ATTENTION. Taking your children on individual dates or outings gives them the feeling that they hold their own special place in your heart. This feeling will help to decrease their competition with the other children for your attention. Dates can be play times one on one, hunting or fishing one on one or going out to roller skate or bowl or even just get an ice cream cone. This is a time to give lots of eye contact and lots of listening. Girls will usually jabber non-stop from start to finish but you may need to prepare a question or two to prime the pump for a boy then look down or away giving eye contact just enough to let him know you’re listening.
For students or employees ask about activities or family events outside of the usual school or work realm when you have your usual progress meetings. Don’t get too personal just ask general knowledge questions and listen well. Their work success is often affected by personal issues and they may have no one else who seems to care. If they believe you do they will begin to open more heart felt areas to your care and you will have the opportunity to really make a lifetime difference.
For more on this subject see my book “The Balance of Loving Discipline” on the SermonOnTheMount.org website.