When I’m asked about what parents can do every day (besides praying) to make a huge difference in their kids’ lives, I tell them three things that can make them “AAA Parents.”
Affection. Everyone needs affection to thrive, but kids want affection from their parents. I’m convinced that one of the reasons teenagers become sexually promiscuous (especially girls) is because they lack affection from the significant male figure in their life. My parents were great, but they weren’t overly affectionate, so I chose to change the script of how I parented. I poured affection into my kids through hugs, back rubs, and snuggling during TV time. For a short season, during their teenage years, the affection wasn’t always returned, but I knew it would when they got older (and I was right). Every day, find a way to be affectionate with your child.
Affirmation. Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on one good compliment.” Unfortunately, many kids go two months without any genuine affirmation from their parents. Through their words, parents yield so much power to shape their kids. Children don’t often return the encouragement, and many parents tire and weaken of speaking good words to their children because they feel like they’re not getting anything in return. But remember, it’s not about the parent; it’s about the child. Imagine your child has a bank account and each encouragement, affirmation, positive comment, or intentional and personal word of kindness is a deposit of a penny to their account. Each negative comment is like withdrawing a quarter. How is your child’s bank account doing?
Attention. Simply stated, this means parents need to focus and engage in what’s happening in their kids’ lives. Giving kids attention means more than popping by their bedroom and waving goodnight — it means tucking them in. It means more than asking how their day went — it means asking and really listening to the answer and asking more questions. It means more than making sure they get homework done — it means helping and coaching in a way that they feel confident and empowered. Kids need to feel that they matter to their parents!
Give it a try this week. These actions are easier to remember than they are to put into practice, but I know you can do it.
Parenting isn’t easy. Intentional parenting is even more difficult, but the rewards your child will reap through affection, affirmation, and attention are worth the difficulty it takes for parents to make these into daily habits!