Raising Affectionate KidsOkay, I had a recent post on www.triciagoyer.blogspot.com and I've had a few queries about my "secret" to having a 17-year-old son who not only loves his mom, but loves giving her hugs and pecks on the cheek too. I never really thought of our lifestyle as anything out of the ordinary, but here are some decisions I've made that have helped our kids turn out to be loving, kind, affectionate teens.
1. Homeschooling. When I had three toddlers at home I met some people from church who had eight kids that they homeschooled. I would have thought this was nuts except for the fact they were really cool kids--even the teenagers. They loved hanging out as a family. The kids loved being with their parents. They were each other's best friends . . . and I wanted some of that.
So the truth is, it wasn't academics that turned our attention to homeschooling, it was "relationship." And as the years pass, the more I realize how important this is to family. In the garden of Eden, God had a relationship with Adam and Eve . . . the devil offered them knowledge. They went for the knowledge and lost the relationship--what a horrible trade!
(Of course, I have to add that my kids are very smart. In fact they routinely score 2-3 years above grade level on all their school subjects. So we've got the best of both worlds!)
All this to say, homeschooling FOR US has led to amazing relationships with our kids. Relationships mean affection. So, in our home, homeschooling has fostered affectionate kids.
2. Love is a verb. Of course, homeschooling alone can not guarantee these results. In our home LOVE is a verb. We love each other through action--talking to each other with respect, helping each other, laughing, playing, praying together, reading together etc. We also hug, which I feel all starts because of the relationship John and I have.
Years ago I read a marriage book that talked about sending your spouse off with a twenty-second kiss and welcoming him home with the same. I've put this into practice, and my 17-year-old has picked up on it. He kisses my cheek every morning when he first sees me and does the same before he goes to bed. He also hugs me throughout the day. For example, if I'm in the kitchen he'll walk up and give me a hug, just because.
3. We talk about Relationships. Since I mentor teen moms, I've seen A LOT of unhealthy relationships, so from the beginning I've talked about healthy relationships with my kids. I've also made them read TONS of Christian dating books, especially the ones that encourage them NOT to date until they are prepared to make a life-long commitment.
One day, when Cory was reading one of these books he told me. "You know what I read? I read that how a boy treats his mom is how he'll treat his wife." I'm serious when I say that the hugs increased after that, and so did his attitude about helping out without being asked. ("Hey mom, would you like some help with that?") It's as if Cory decided to get practiced up at showing care and concern.
Okay, those are the three major things that come to mind. But I hope they help! Hey, maybe someday I should interview my kids and get their thoughts on the subject!
(P.S. To check out my original post, go to: www.triciagoyer.blogspot.com)