Monday, May 24, 2010

The Likeability Factor

It was one of the most hurtful events of my childhood.
I had gone to a neighbor’s house to play with several friends, only to be informed by one of the girls, “We voted, and no one wants to play with you.” There was no recount, no possibility of hanging chads, just one vote among nine-year-old girls, and I was literally out on the street. They did not like me that day, and I did not know why. Fortunately, I trudged home to loving parents who did like me; I knew that for sure. Somehow the knowledge of my likeability in their eyes helped me weather many storms during those growing up years when peer approval was often unattainable.

Most kids understand that love is part of a parent’s job description. Parents have to love their kids. But do they have to like them? Liking is optional. Liking has to do with preference, personality, and at times, partiality. During the ‘tween years, when the lines are drawn between who is in and who is out, it is more important than ever that our children know they are not only loved, but they are liked: They are accepted, appreciated, and at times, admired. There are several ways parents can let children know that they have a high likeability factor, and we'll be talking about a few this week!

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