The image to the right is a random text I sent to my 17-year-old daughter. Why? Because:
"Every child deserves at least one adult who is madly, crazy in love with them."
—Urie Brofenbrenner, child developmentalist pioneer
Sadly, too many children lack this, and it affects them profoundly. Please tell your children often that you love them and give them specifics as to why. They hang on to it years later in ways you may never know. There as some key loving things that my mother said to me as a child and teenager that have shaped the person I am today.
My colleague, Wendi Landon Christensen, LCSW, stated "It's important to share qualities you like or love about them that are NOT based on their behaviors. That's why I love what you listed as the qualities you like in your daughter. All of it is just based on her and not her behaviors. That is true unconditional love."
I agree, that is such an important point and one that I am specifically mindful about in my compliments to children and teens. While it's great to get good grades and there's nothing wrong with being pretty, I want to make sure my kids (and all the kids I work with) know they are valuable for what's intrinsic to who they are (BEING/internal) and not just what they do or look like (DOING/external).
Another colleague, Kendra Kenz Bagshaw, LPC, after reading this post shared the following:
"Thank you for reminding me of this. Just sent a sappy text to my son. His respond made me cry at work."