I Want Our Kids to See Affection
Our young kids were recently invited to a sleepover, but one of them was surprisingly uninterested.
“What will you and mommy do when we’re gone?” she said.
“I’m not sure, maybe watch a movie,” I said.
My honest and off-the-cuff response seemed insignificant, yet it had far more meaning to our daughter than to me. That’s because our kids know that a movie at home generally means dad and mom sitting on the couch, close together, side-by-side and snuggling.
“Yes!” she said with great enthusiasm. “I’ll do the sleepover!”
Her sudden change, of course, reminded me just how much kids want to see their parents love one another. It offers them a feeling of assurance like a security blanket, that same calm and peace you probably felt as a child when you were riding home in the car, it was night and you could sleep the whole way home. It just felt safe, secure, peaceful – and right. They like seeing affection between parents.
When children see parents showing affection, or simply being husband and wife, it provides them a wonderful model for their future.
If we want our kids to develop healthy relationships in life, we need to remember that everything they learn about relationships in life they learn from us. That may seem like a lot of pressure, but you can handle it. You ended up with your partner for a reason, right?
Such behavior also strengthens family bonds. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “The family that prays together, stays together.” In the same way, when children see their parents loving each other, it helps unify all members of the family. It reinforces the family ties that are important for weathering the difficult storms in life. It makes everyone operate more as one, and helps refute the me-first attitude that seems to prevail everywhere in society.
Showing love to your spouse in front of your children also demonstrates unconditional love. Family life is imperfect. Children need to see that even when you have disagreements, that doesn’t mean you stop loving that person, or that they must meet your conditions in order to receive love. This way, even when you have to dish out some serious discipline, your children will know that you still love them.
Just like any corporation, the culture at home starts at the top. When spouses are affectionate, it not only strengthens the relationship but creates an atmosphere where love will always prevail. Your children will follow your lead when dealing with siblings and friends, and those behaviors will carry into adulthood.
When children witness physical affection between parents, they’ll learn everything they need to know about love, marriage, and caring. And words may not even be necessary.