'Why do you love me?'

Why do you love me?

Micah, my 3 year old at that time, has been asking this question recently. I will say I love you, and he will look at me with head tilted and say, why do you love me? The first time he did this I laughed and said, “because your my baby!” But when he continued to ask I decided I would be more specific. So I started by saying things like, I love you because you are funny, because you are sweet to your sisters, you help mommy take care of baby carter, etc.

This question from little man reminded me that we all need to not only hear that we are loved, but told why we are loved. Yes, we intrinsically love our children because they are a part of us. But we also love aspects of the person they are. We need to start praising those aspects, mentioning them to others besides our child, and to encourage them in areas that they may not be as strong. We need to start praising their efforts instead of just the completion of something. We need to praise their honesty even when it’s not initially forthcoming. We should start talking about our children and spouses in positive ways to others instead of just focusing on the struggles. And we should hug, kiss, fist bump every day to maintain our physical bond that we developed at their birth.

This exercise challenges us to be intentional with our words, and to act out what we are saying. Let us make the words “I love you” have the impact it is suppose to make when said. Today, write out 4 things that you LOVE about your kids, your spouse, your friends, and whoever else means something to you. So when you have a moment to share how much you care you can be specific, and plant seeds of encouragement.

Paige Clingenpeel

Teen Therapist working with teens and parents on TV, Radio, Web-Based Media, Blogs, and Print. Presently a monthly contributor to the women's parenting & marriage site iMom.com, and host of TBN's Tween show iShine K'Nect. Paige also provides individual therapy at LifeSprings Counseling Center, and works at Parkview Health as a student assistant counselor assigned to Carroll High School. Paige is married to Ryan and has two daughters and two sons!