I Love You
I met a woman yesterday at a party who had four children. The oldest two were 15 and 13.
She said to me, referring to the oldest children,
“Now that they are in their teens, they don’t want to be loved by their mum anymore. My job is done.”
I couldn’t believe my ears.
My eldest daughter, Eva is approaching 13 and she is still kind and sweet, but when I tell her that I love her, she has stopped saying it back to me. This will not stop me from saying it.
I remember my parents always saying, I love you throughout the years. To this day, every phone conversation ends with those three words.
My dad was never afraid to say, “I love you” even when his children were going through the same phase as Eva. He also continued to show them affection. I can recall a few years ago when he insisted that his reluctant, akward 16-year-old son Aaron give him a hug.
“Oh Dad, leave me alone,” my half-brother replied trying to play it cool.
My father then pretended to playfully chase him into the living room, put Aaron into a gentle headlock, kissed him on the top of the head and told him that he loved him. He eventually succumbed and leant in for a cuddle while brandishing a big smile. As a result, Aaron has grown up into an affectionate, loving young man.
We may not be able to provide everything for our children, but love is crucial and it’s free. Giving and receiving love is easier when the children are small and idolise their mum and dad. We rank up there somewhere with Santa Claus and God. When they reach puberty, it becomes a whole different ball game. Pre-teens and teens are faced with raging hormones, tough choices, and peer pressure. We do not have the power to change this or eliminate all the negative influences that may affect them.
One of the biggest challenges that parents face is how to combat our kid’s negativity when our affections may not be reciprocated, and they become damn-right unlovable at times. However, this is the time when parents need to continue to provide it the most. When the world becomes hard and cruel, creating a safe home environment full of love can help teenagers, soothe their wounds. But sometimes they are holding so much pain that they end up punishing the parents. This might lead to tougher rules, more boundaries, family intervention or even counselling. Even though it might be terribly difficult, the positive effects of your actions will show in years to come.
Through it all, we should always continue to show love to our kids.