What is known today is this annual contemporary holiday, as its celebrated, has transformed. Commercialization of this affair means nearly 180 million valentines cards will be purchased in the U.S., most within the 6 days leading up to Valentines Day on February 14th. What’s little known is surprisingly, from the same census report, 40% of those cards are purchased from parents. Parents make this day an opportunity for fun to make and share hearts in many forms, food inclusive, such as pancakes or even Jell-O. Valentines Day rewards us an extended excuse to share our love to our children in a note or home made card regardless of their age.
"Valentines Day rewards us [Parents] an extended excuse to share our love ... in a note or home made card..."
As parents, we find little excuse to express our love openly to our children throughout the entire calendar year. We each have our own identifiable way to express love to our children. In my opinion, physical love was easier when they were young. Hugging our children when they were little was as easy as putting out our arms in the wake of their path. Try doing this with your adolescent every time they walk in the door! Imagine holding hands with your teen or adult child; stroking their hair or even caressing their skin as you did when they were little, holding them tight during movie night? Kudos to those who are still successful!
"Hugging our children ... was as easy as putting out our arms in the wake of their path."
By the time our little ones reach into teens, many of us consider more mindful ways of keeping up to show affection. Our love becomes more intellectual as children grow and mature into young adults. Love is after all more than just physical and emotional. Adolescents start breaking old terms that we relied on to express affection and were once a staple. We grow in the process. The majority of older children will undoubtedly squirm when reaching for that cherished and endless hug. We’re all guilty.
"Love is ...more than just physical and emotional."
Expressing your love to your children is not always heart shaped pancakes and Jell-O. Regardless of age, loving your child means setting limits on what’s acceptable behavior versus unacceptable. Exhibiting tough love is an acquired art form. Stepping in and using parental guidance can come across as harsh at times to our children. In the midst of a punishment, try telling your child you’re exhibiting tough love for their own good! Maintaining acceptable boundaries are in the best long-term interest and growth of your child. Few children may understand the complexity of love and toughness in one emotional turn. For most perhaps not until they are parents themselves.
"Few children ...understand the complexity of love and toughness in one emotional turn."
One day your child will reward you many times over for your undying love, recognizing not only the sacrifices and compromises, but also the tough love that can walk hand-in-hand. Decisions can be challenging, but we make choices because we love our children even if its not immediately apparent to our kids. When modeling this type of behavior, it not only means we love our children, but that we love our self too. All together, you are raising your children to love and be loved. Giving love and accepting and being loved are equally important; loving your self supports the entire process. Happy Valentines Day! You deserve it.
"Giving love and accepting and being loved are equally important..."
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© 2012 Bruce Buccio