Tonight I’m asking myself a question, “Does a child’s perception of feeling unloved physically make him or her more vulnerable to harm from our sex-saturated culture?”
Awhile back my mom gave me a copy of the 5 Love Languages book. It was good– gave Lee and me a lot to talk about. (Ok…. Mostly it was food for thought for me, and we had a few conversations about it together!) Eventually, the conversation turned predictably to our children. How can we better understand how to love them?
All of our children respond to physical affection. In some ways, it can be overwhelming, especially if I’m tired or busy and find physical connection distracting or distressing. It is helpful to remember that while it’s okay to teach my children appropriate ways and times to reach out physically, how I redirect them matters greatly.
My concern is that if I’m always pushing away, they’ll find other ways to feel loved physically, and that puts them at risk.
“No, Don’t touch me!!!” said in a dramatic, overreacting tone, is different than reaching out to hold their hands and saying gently, “Now is not a good time for a hug.”
I’ve been working on not screeching when I’m being hugged by sticky hands, and being more intentional at small touches. Sometimes I just put my shoe next to theirs at the dinner table. I’ve been trying to hold my youngest’s hand when I give her instruction. I keep waiting for them to be embarrassed at public affection, but they still like it.
I asked one child, “When do you feel most loved by mom?” The response wasn’t surprising, but I was surprised to hear it verbalized. “When you cuddle with me.”
I also have been trying to verbalize with my children that physical affection is not the only way to love someone. Your sister still loves you, but she wants to sleep in her own bed. It’s okay.
Have you considered how Jesus showed that he cared about people by physically connecting with them in some way? Tonight I’m praying that God will give me wisdom to know to reach out to my children physically.
And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. Matthew 8:14-15