Have You Hugged Your Kids Today?

By Erik Fisher, PhD, aka Dr. E…, www.DrEPresents.com

Our kids bring us so much joy. Sometimes it is hard to believe that we can love someone that much. However, just as can happen with a marriage, the same can happen with our kids. We can begin to take them for granted. It is so easy to get wrapped up in life and become distracted by work, and other life stressors. It is important to remember that our kids need to feel loved and need to know that they are loved. My goal with my daughter when she was born was one million kisses before she turns five, and I make a point to tell her I love her at least once per day—and it feels so good to hear her say in her 3 year-old voice, “Daddy, I lub you so much.” Do I keep count of the hugs? No, but I do know I am well on the way.

In working with kids, adults and parents, there are so many times that I have found that parents don’t tell or show their kids how they feel about them. Some of the reasons that I hear as to why parents don’t “love on” their kids are:

* As their children get older, they don’t think they need the reassurance
* They were never loved on when they were kids
* They don’t feel comfortable loving on their kids when they approach adolescence
* They didn’t realize that their kids felt unloved
* They just aren’t that type of person
* Whenever they try to love on their kids they squirm away or don’t respond in return

Our kids often give us our best opportunities to stretch ourselves. Sometimes we have to push ourselves to get out of old habits and to begin new patterns. What we don’t realize that what we are missing out on when we don’t share love with our kids is how we feel inside. Sometimes parents need to face their uncomfortable feelings and the boundaries that they put in place not just between them and their children, but between them and other people. Sometimes parents can face their fears of rejection from their own kids, that if they don’t love them too much, their kids can’t push them away. Sometimes it is just a matter of learning to love and share in the process with someone else.

Our kids offer us the best opportunity to make an investment in loving them without expecting something in return. When I grew up, I was not someone who felt comfortable saying “I love you.” My mom told us all the time, and my dad showed us through service. It wasn’t until we all went off to college that my dad realized the power of sharing how he felt with words. Keep in mind that even though you know how much you may love your kids, they don’t often understand the things that you do, but they do hear the words that you say and the number of times you hug them and even sit with them with your arm around them.

Take the time to hug your kids and tell them that you love at least five times a day. Even if your kids might squirm or act like you have the plague, keep doing it. Neither of you may be used to it. But I don’t hear many troubled teens or adults who said that they behave like they do because their parents gave them too much love.

About the author: Erik Fisher, PhD, aka Dr. E…, is a licensed psychologist and author of two books whose work has been featured NBC, CBS, FOX and CNN. Visit him at www.DrEPresents.com to learn more about his new show, Off The Couch with Dr. E… .

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