Feature: Soapbox Musings

Teaching Our Children About Love

Author: Eileen Lenson
Published: June 08, 2011 at 12:34 am
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Children establish their first feeling of belonging from the family unit. The family relationships, which provide the experiences of loving and being loved, establish roots for our children. The warmth, love and security found in the early formation of these close relationships help build our children's sense of security for life. The children grow up feeling secure in the belief that others will be there for them, not only for companionship and enjoyment, but also when difficult times occur. These feelings of belonging give children the personal strength to take the necessary risks, trusting that the world is a safe place. Children will feel more emotional stability and a sense of belonging when they feel connected to their neighborhood, school, extended family, religious and ethnic group.

To truly belong, children must feel needed and depended upon in their family. As is documented in the November 2, 2007 Grand Rounds at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Industrial Revolution has changed the way we parent our children.

Previously, parents needed children to contribute to the household in order for the family unit to survive. Children had to help stock shelves, feed the cattle, care for other family members. In the modern day family, the parents, rather than the children, are needed – to drive carpool to school, scout, ballet, and soccer, to make daily meals, and plan the family vacations. The children are passive recipients of all these services rather than being a part of the process of making these things happen.

In today’s society children are separated both emotionally and physically from the parents. Children learn to love their parents, but they do not have the benefit of working alongside them. It is the process of working together that successfully instills values and learning. As parents typically work miles from the home and come home distracted and exhausted, children all too often receive academic support for their studies from tutors rather than from sitting elbow to elbow with parents at the kitchen table. Children spend more of their spare time at home on Facebook, texting, and watching television rather than spending time alongside the parents repairing broken items, building things for the home, or taking care of the garden or livestock. This separation from parents results in children not learning about true intimacy, for intimacy requires give and take – not just take.

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Article Author: Eileen Lenson

Eileen Lenson, MSW, ACSW, Diplomate, comes to Life Coaching with an expansive combination of education, clinical training, and experience in the field of psychology. She holds a Masters degree in Clinical Social Work, and was a practicing psychotherapist, …

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