What Message Are We Sharing with Our Children?Christmas can be a time of blessing our children or spoiling our children. It's hard to draw the line as to when blessing becomes over indulging but many adults would agree that children today in many households are growing up with a sense of entitlement rather than a sense of empowerment and responsibility. Here are some messages that gift giving can communicate:
- the way to demonstrate love is through things
- the way to make up for parenting neglect is through things
- the way to manipulate children into behaving is through providing things
- the path to happiness is accumulating things
Recognizing the Five Love LanguagesRecognizing our children's personality or temperament is one way to give positive messages throughout the year but especially at Christmas. As parents we connect best with our children when we speak to them through the five love languages. They are:
- Words of affirmation--Could you write your child a Christmas letter that expresses gratitude for all their unique qualities?
- Acts of service--Could you share a service project together? It could be something that helps the community, family members or even the world.
- Receiving gifts--We all focus on this one at Christmas! One suggestion for managing this aspect of Christmas is to buy your child three gifts: one gift that the child wants, one that they need and one that is a surprise. I think this suggestion is fabulous and it covers all the possibilities. It has an element of fun, an element of practicality or educational value and it also gives the child a choice but forces some prioritizing of items.
- Quality time--Could your gift be spending some special time enjoying a particular activity together? Could you make some family memories?
- Physical touch--Hopefully this is a part of every day but a gift could focus on a relaxing back rub before bed or an evening of snuggling in front of a movie as a family.
Looking for a great book to help you understand the five love languages and how they can relate to children? Check it out here:
Looking for a great book to help children understand the difference between getting and giving? Check out: