How to Let Your Children Know You Value Them

One of the easiest and most effective ways of letting children know we value them is to value the work they produce or create. One of the easiest and most effec­tive ways of doing that is by displaying the work in a prominent place.

For some the display area is the refrigerator door. For others it’s a bulletin board in the kitchen or family room. Or it may be a frame on the wall (in which art­work can be quickly and easily placed) or clipboard hanging on the side of a cabinet.

Displaying your child’s work is a clear signal that the work is regarded as important, valid, and appreciated. Let’s explore each of those concepts briefly.

Children Value

Show that you believe the work is important. When you display your child’s work you are giving it impor­tance. Your child sees you throw away junk mail, dis­card the daily paper, and toss out extraneous instruc­tions and advertisements. In fact, your child sees you throw away more paper than you ever keep! The mes­sage to your child is that there’s a lot of paper that Mom and Dad simply don’t want.

When you keep your child’s work and display it your child gets a different message: His or her work counts. Because the child’s work is often a direct expression of self, the message is that the child is important. If the work is wanted, he or she is wanted, too.

Show that your child’s work is valid. Much of your child’s artwork isn’t going to make any sense to you. It may not look pretty. You may not even know what it is your child is depicting or expressing! But, by keeping and displaying your child’s creations, you are doing two things. First, you are acknowledging his or her artwork as a valid aesthetic expression. And in that, you are encouraging your child to continue to express thoughts, feelings, and imagination openly. You are saying, “So this is how you see the world. That’s neat. That’s your perspective. I like seeing how you view the world.”

Second, you are inviting your child to continue to express his or her personality, character, and talents in other ways. The child may think, “Hmmm, if Mom or Dad thinks this artwork is cool, well, I’ll do a dance, or write a poem, or paint another picture.”

Show that your child’s work is appreciated. Your child’s creative expressions are your child’s gifts to you, freely given, most of the time. Be a good receiver of these gifts.

If your child is giving you a test or paper with a good grade on it, your child is saying to you, “See what I did.” Such a paper isn’t a gift as much as it’s an award shared. Express your appreciation for the effort, skill, and study that your child put into earning that good mark.

If your child is giving you artwork, accept it as a gift of art shared not only with you but with the world at large. Find something in the artwork about which you can comment honestly. “I sure like the colors you used.” “I like the way you used such bold strokes.”

How long should you keep your child’s accomplish­ments and expressions up for view? That will depend, in part, on how productive your child is.

Children Value

You may simply exchange one set of school papers for another. You may want to keep several pictures on display simultaneously. Whatever you decide, don’t let your child see you throw the old work away. Simply discard it discreetly.

A word of caution: never post something about which your child expresses embarrassment or dislike. Even though you may think the picture is “cute,” your child may regard it as less than a good effort. Go with your child’s evaluation.

Having a gallery for your child’s work is a way of saying to the world, “A child lives here. That child is pretty special. In fact, here’s proof of just how special that child is to all of us.” That’s a self-esteem building message of the first order!

Filed Under: Family & Relationships


About the Author: Roberta Southworth is a psychiatrist by profession. She likes to help out people by writing informative tips on how people can to solve their family and relationship issues. She is currently staying in Ireland. She has 5 years of couple counseling experience.

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