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How do you talk about love with children?
You should talk about love with small kids under 10, every day. Say, "I love you" at dinner. Say it before going to bed. Say it during a walk, or on the way to a garden. Importantly, say it without any special reason. Don’t say it because your son brushed his teeth. Don’t say it because your daughter ate her soup before cake. Say it for no reason.
You can ask a child, "What is love?" if the subject suits the situation. For example, perhaps you read or listened to a book. Or a child sings an adult song. Listen to your child’s answer and then reply, "Oh, I see." You shouldn't press deeply into the subject, or philosophize and argue. Children don’t have enough experience in understanding love in general, as they are so young. Don't speculate about love in your conversations in the style of "intellectual chewing gum". If you want an intellectual conversation, there are so many other fine subjects! Talk about whether there is life in space, how to create a time machine, why trees are green in summer, etc…
Should you say "you don't love me” to a child who is being disobedient?
Unfortunately, some mothers and grandmothers (and even fathers and grandfathers), facing a child's disobedience, will say: "Oh, you don't love me." For kids younger than five, such a charge will perhaps work. They think, I love my grandmother, I love my mother, I will show I am good, and won't upset them. But frequent repetition of these reproaches turns natural love to relatives into work. The idea develops that "to love you" means to force themselves to do something they don’t want to. To eat up cold soup. To clean up toys which they’ll want to play with tomorrow. To share a favorite truck with an unfamiliar boy in the sandbox. When you look at it this way, the child feels he/she has to prove their love by suffering! I hope you will draw the right conclusions ……
Should you say, "I don't love such disobedient boys / girls" instead»
Taboo. No. Never. In this case, you speak about feelings in relation to the concrete act of a child. Even in an emotionally fused situation, the answer to the question "How was the child disobedient?" or "What is wrong now?" takes less than a second, especially if you often practice an internal explanation for a situation. "I don't love when somebody deceives me," is a better way to say it. Another way is, "You have just deceived me by telling a lie. It makes me sad." By no means, say, "I won't love the liar", "I don't love girls who are disobedient on purpose."».
Why should you not do this? Obviously, you do it to frighten the child. And the first time, most likely, he will be frightened of you disliking him because it means a lack of parental support. But soon enough, in response to your "I don't love…" the mental protest becomes "I don't mind." Thus, a child loses sensitivity not only to your threats, but also to experiences, emotions, and feelings of other people. Both of your lives will turn into a fight. And "who is the winner" relationships in a parent-child situation won’t bring real happiness, a pacification, or feeling of safety.
Should you celebrate February 14th with a child?
Read the story of St. Valentine's Day. If the retrospective of the holiday inspires you, ask yourself why. If it is to make a declaration of love to your family by means of special handmade (not purchased) attributes – it is quite possible to afford it. If it is to cultivate the relationships of love between boys and girls – isn't it too early? And is it worth doing? Do you really want to focus attention on a child in a group or class that is pleasant to your child, and thereby single out someone who is not? Children are rather cruel; occasions to show each other who is their favorite and who isn’t aren’t likely to be passed-up. And they worry a lot about how others feel about them anyway!
For St. Valentine's Day, adults make a declaration of love to those they were shy to before this day; they express feelings in the forms of a card, not in proper words because they are overflowed by emotions. February 14, in fact, is a chance for the shyest to construct their romantic destiny. Are you are sure this adult holiday tradition has relation to children?
How to express love to your relatives
Why exactly on February, 14? Why not February 23, on March 8, and other absolutely neutral days like June 4, September 13, etc.? One concrete day a year of special efforts to express love on paper or plastic isn't necessary. We love each other because we have each other. And we should be pleasant to each other every day. And when we are unpleasant, we are upset, we are ashamed, and we are angry because we love. We are not indifferent to all that happens to each other. Just make a habit to say "I love you" without a cause. See item 1.
Love each other. Remember that the love is an action! Don't forget about the importance of simple words. In your relationship with your children there will be more recognition and tenderness.