Most kids understand that love is part of a parent’s job description. Parents have to love their kids, LOL. 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 even admired. Here are three ways parents can let children know that they have a high likeability factor.
Tell them. Never underestimate the power of your words. Tell your child often of his likeability. I like being with you. You are a neat kid. You are a lot of fun. And how about telling other people? Resist the urge to join in the chorus of, “My kids are driving me crazy.” Instead, mention what a great time you have with your kids. Children are validated by what they hear you say.
Have fun. Play games. Go ouside. Enjoy their friends! What do they like to do? You can do it with them. My sons have recently become fascinated with the old shoot-‘em-up Westerns. I like spending time with my boys, so that means I have recently become "fascinated" with Westerns, too. Well, not really, but I am fascinated with my boys, and as they grow, I am interested in what makes them tick. I would rather join in their fun than be left out of it.
Appreciate differences. As children grow and begin to develop their own personalities, parents may find that a child has some tendencies or traits that rub them the wrong way. For example, a free-spirited, athletic parent may grow exasperated with a quiet child who spends hours reading. How about listing all the wonderful things about your child that you admire? Appreciate your child by grasping the divine nature of her differences. God has a special plan and purpose for your child, and He designed her personality with His ultimate goal in mind.
Every parent hopes to raise likeable children. Likeability is what engages people in relationships, and God-honoring relationships draw people to Christ. If you are dealing with an anxious ‘tween or an aggravating toddler, the likeability meter may be low. That is where love comes in. Love tides you over when like is dwindling! There will always be times when the likeability factor just does not add up. When that happens, love your child enough to pursue her likeability
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