Kids should hear us saying, “I love you” to them! It should be the first thing that they hear every morning, and the last thing that they hear every night. They should hear it in the middle or at the end of arguments, on the phone, and at unexpected times. No matter what, you must say the words, "I love you!" If parents do not say the words, then it is very likely that all other attempts at expressing love will fail. Without the words, our kids just might miss the message completely!
Let me say it again! “I love you,” must be the first thing that our kids hear in the morning and the last thing that they hear before they go to sleep at night and they must hear those words repeatedly all day long! Our kids will not know that we love them just because they live in our homes. If we fail to tell them regularly that we unconditionally love them, they may miss the message when we send it in other very critical ways. While I was growing up, my Dad told me that he loved me in every other way, but... because he did not say the words I had missed the message until I was thirty-one. then he finally said the words.
In my book, Parenting with Dignity, and in our video curriculum, I reveal the full story of my father and how he finally said the words, “I love you!” to me. I would recommend that you get my book or the video curriculum to learn the full story (you can get either by Christmas with free postage), because I find that many people shared a similar experience with their parents! However, for the sake of this article, let it suffice to say that he communicated his love for me in every other way that I could name, but, because he did not say the words, I missed the rest of the message!
Do not take that risk with your children! Tell them that you love them today! And every day! In these words! “I love you!”
Two Additional ObservationsIt is also important to note two additional observations that are of real significance in this event with my dad.
1. It Is Never Too Late!
The first, it is that it is never to late to say “I love you!” My dad waited until I was thirty-six and he was fifty-eight to say those words to me but, when he finally did, it meant the whole world to me. He only lived six more years after that night when he first told me that he loved me, but I never saw that wonderful man ever again that he did not tell me that he loved me. Those were six of the best years of my life and certainly the best of the best years of my relationship with my dad.
2. Build a Relationship with Parents Too!Next, it would have been a real crime if my amazing and loving father had gone to his grave never having heard the words “thank you” from his son! It is never to late for that either. Many people have told me that after hearing the amazing story about my dad and me that they finally realized what had been missing between them and their parents and hearing that story simply motivated them to build some emotional bridges of their own. If you are one of those people let me encourage you to take the necessary action to build the relationship with a parent. It is an effort well worth the giving.