What all children need to hear: Expressing love to your child

By Steve Trader
Special to The Alabama Baptist

Have you ever met a parent who was not a good parent? I think we all may have. At times we also may feel as though we are not doing a good job in parenting our children. This can be frustrating to say the least. 

Tragically so many of us fail to see the results we want when it comes to our own parenting situations. 

What can we do to become the parents we all desire to be?

The answer is to model ourselves after the greatest parent of all, God the Father. We need to do what He did with His Son, the Lord Jesus. At the baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3 we hear powerful words of affirmation spoken to the Son by the Father. 

All children need words of affirmation from their parents. Sadly many may never hear anything but words of criticism and harshness.

What were these powerful words spoken on that special day? 

Matthew 3:16–17 says, “After being baptized Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’”

In that passage the Father said two things every child needs to hear and every parent needs to say.

1. “I love you!” (“This is my beloved Son.”) 

Children need to know mom and dad love them. You would be amazed how many people I have talked to through the years admit that one or both parents never said these powerful and precious words. More often than not it is their father who never said these words. 

How tragic this is for a family. People long to know they are loved. This is a great need all people have and many never receive. Parents, tell your children you love them.

2. “I am proud of you!” (“with whom I am well-pleased”) 

Parents, let your kids know you are proud of them. Let them hear those exact words. 

A man shared with me he told his adult daughter these words just recently. He had never said this before. He said, “She broke down crying over the phone and said how much that meant to her.” 

When these words are spoken a child feels approval. Many people spend their entire lives seeking the approval of mom and dad. Parents, tell your children you are proud of them. 

Make the most of time

When it comes to parenting, the days may seem long but the years will be short. Make the most of your time with your children and with other children in your life by speaking powerful and life-transforming words to them. 


15 ways to show your child love

  1. Teach your child about the love of God.
  2. Read a book together.
  3. Sing songs with each other.
  4. Hug your child often.
  5. Pray with your child daily.
  6. Listen to your child sympathetically when he or she is frustrated.
  7. Write your child a note of love and encouragement.
  8. Play games with your child that they want to play.
  9. Kiss your child goodnight.
  10. Eat meals together as a family (preferably at the dinner table with no other distractions).
  11. Allow your child the opportunity to help you.
  12. Provide your child with as much stability as possible.
  13. Make your child a priority in your daily life.
  14. Create a special name for your child that is positive and loving.
  15. Say, “I love you” — often.

Source: Steve Trader

EDITOR’S NOTE — Faith & Family is a monthly look at important spiritual, cultural and relational issues facing today’s families. For more articles on contemporary topics like these go to PathwaysProfessional.org/blog. 

Steve Trader is a nationally certified licensed professional counselor serving Southwest Alabama for Pathways Professional Counseling, a sister ministry of Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries.