How to help a child feel loved

Photo Copyright ©2007 by Maureen Shaughnessy. All rights reserved

I subscribe to a wonderful weekly letter titled "Friday's Focus" This week's message from Carrie and Danielle struck me as so true today I had to share it with my blog readers. Thanks to my young friend, Grace, for her spontaneous joy and impishness ... by way of illustrating the concept of respecting a child's feelings and making him/her feel loved. Here is this week's Friday Focus from Carrie and Danielle:

When I approach a child, (s)he inspires in me two sentiments; tenderness for what (s)he is, and respect for what (s)he may become.
- Louis Pasteur

Photo Copyright ©2007 by Maureen Shaughnessy. All rights reserved

How would you feel if, when you first met someone new, they said to you, “Are you going to play shy?” or “Looks like someone’s in a bad mood.” What would you think if, when you needed a good boo-hoo, your friend said, “You’re fine. Don’t cry.” And if someone had an issue with you and they let you know about it in front of everyone in the room, how would that go down with you?

Grown ups say the darndest things to kids - things we’d never dare say to a fellow adult. And in the process it can create tremendous confusion between a little person’s genuine feelings and what they’re being told to feel. It’s a discombobulation that many of us carry far into adulthood as we fumble to “get in touch with our feelings.”

(Just a reminder as we come into a season of spending time with family members of all ages ...) be conscious of your power with kids. Whether you’re a Mama Bear or a distant big cousin, this basic approach is divine: Don’t say anything to a child that you wouldn’t say to a grown up you adored. When you were a kid, how sparkling and “in,” and loved did you feel when a big person talked to you as though your feelings and opinions truly mattered? Whether sad, mad, silly, or giggly, having your feelings respected fuels your shine - at every age.