How do you let your kids know you’re “for them”?

Warning: I’d love to hear from YOU today. 

Here’s one of the most common hurts I hear from adults, “I didn’t feel like my parents were for me.”

That hurt cuts deeply and is difficult to overcome.

John Woodall recently tweeted, “Reading about boys who knew their fathers were not ‘for them.’ Imagine a world where boys grew up knowing their dads were for them. Wow!”

parents and child

Dads we gotta lead this!

No matter how old your kids are, give me your best ideas.

What are some ideas that practically communicate to our kids that we are “for them”? I’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts?

Our conversation will be better if you participate.

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16 thoughts on “How do you let your kids know you’re “for them”?

    • I think you’re right Paul. At Pastor Roland Niednagel’s memorial service last Saturday, each of his four children shared how important it was that their Dad regularly spent time with them despite his busy schedule. Thanks Paul.

  1. Tell them on a regular basis that your love for them is unconditional. Regardless of their age, your children need to know that you are there for them. Next to God, you are their earthly rock.

  2. Showing interest in what they love is incredibly beneficial for children and for parents. If your child loves video games, sit and play a game or two with them, whether you like it or not. If they like to read, read the same book and talk about it. If they play a sport, don’t just drop them off at practice or a game and go run errands; be there and be their biggest fan in the stands. Volunteer to coach or be the team mom. Take a day off from work and volunteer in the classroom or go on a field trip. My children are currently in elementary school. I have done all of the above and let me tell you, if I’m late to their practices or cannot be there for some reason, I hear about it. They know that I’m always there and they notice when I’m not. The best thing we’ve done so far is to do taekwondo together as a family. Our son started first and about 10 months later our daughter wanted to join. Once she joined, my husband gave me that look (that caused pure panic and fear inside me as I am not an athlete) and the next thing you know, we’re on a path towards getting our black belts together as a family. Learning side-by-side, being able to practice together at home and sharing a common interest has been one of best things we’ve ever done.

    • Wow Amanda! I love this. There’s a lot of gold in your comment. “Sharing in your child’s interest”, “learning side-by-side”, and “creating common interests”. Good stuff! Great parenting. Thanks Amanda.

  3. Our youngest daughter isn’t as musically inclined as our other kids, but as you know, music is an important part of our family, enough so, that she was starting to feel down on herself when she couldn’t participate. Our other two kids gravitated easily toward an instrument, but for her it hasn’t been easy. Brett and I sat down with her, and told her that we know it will take work, but we believed in her, and were willing to sit with her every day to practice, as many years as it takes. We helped her choose an instrument and talked about our commitment to her. It hasn’t been easy (talk about “teardrops on my guitar”), but now she sits down with her guitar and smiles when she discovers new things she can do with it every day. Our goal for her is to be able to join us in leading worship by the time she is in high school. It is the goal for all of our kids. I think investing in our kids, helping them discover their strengths, and lifting them up and carrying them in their weaknesses is how we can show them we are there for them.

    • Thanks for sharing this Jeni! I love how you told her you “believed in her” and then showed her by taking the extra time to help her learn to play the guitar. Can’t wait to hear her play! You have some great kids.

  4. When it’s time tell them about your failures. They will be more apt to try difficult things even though they may fail, if they know failure is part of life and most times the road to success. And they will know that you understand and you are on their side no matter what.

  5. This is so good Sylvia! That is counter-intuitive isn’t it? It seems like I should only let my kids see my success in order to inspire them. But that approach would cause their first ineveitable failure to demoralize them wouldn’t it? Great stuff. Thanks Sylvia!

  6. Mark we learned a long time ago that our 4 children were different..each had different skills….kids need to feel good about themselves..so we tried to find that one skill that each one had…One on our son at an early age was gifted with oil painting, and we were almost shocked with he brought home a picture of a bowl of fruit. That is just an example, but we worked hard at helping and encouraging them. They need to feel special at home, and support. We also wanted our house to open to bring friends home. Boys flop and are messy, pop corn and fun stuff we had available..and didn’t get uptight about our furniture. Times have change, but making the home a save haven is what it is all about….after games it look like a basketball gym around the Anderson homestead. you are doing a great job! keep it up. Someday I would like to meet all the Anderson KIN.
    43 minutes ago · Like

    • This is great Bud. As parents, I guess we naturally gravitate toward “cookie cutter parenting”. Identifying and developing individual strengths in our kids takes intentionality and time doesn’t it? BTW, making our homes attractive for our kids AND their friends = brilliant. Thanks for sharing Bud!

  7. The best question for a parent to ask themselves is “am I being intentional in my parenting?” Write down what you hope for your child as an adult and how you want to get there. Remember that each child is an individual created in God’s image, but you, the parent are a child’s first concept of what God is like. Do your actions reflect the qualities of Christ ? Are you merciful, forgiving? Do you have self control when it comes to anger?
    Take time to understand and help your child develop their interests. Give them focused attention. The number one thing most children and adolescents complain about in counseling is parents who are too busy to give their time and attention.
    Parenting is the most difficult role you will ever have. Give yourself permission to get it wrong at times. Most of all make God your partner in parenting. Pray for yourself as a parent and pray for your child!

    • This reveals why you are such a gifted counselor. I love your encouragement to focus on who your child is becoming. “Parenting is the most difficult role you will ever have. Give yourself permission to get it wrong at times.” Such great encouragement! Thank you Rita.

  8. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/01/08/are-raising-generation-deluded-narcissists/

    In the link above there is an excellent assesment of todays youth by psychiatrist Jean Twenge.

    ‘We must beware of the toxic psychological impact of media and technology on children, adolescents and young adults, particularly as it regards turning them into faux celebrities—the equivalent of lead actors in their own fictionalized life stories’.

    Oh you mean like reminding them that its really God’s story?

    He concludes:

    “That’s why young people are higher on drugs than ever, drunker than ever, smoking more, tattooed more, pierced more and having more and more and more sex, earlier and earlier and earlier, raising babies before they can do it well, because it makes them feel special, for a while. They’re doing anything to distract themselves from the fact that they feel empty inside and unworthy.”

    Yes, we definately need to make our kids know for certain that we are for them, that they are special to us and to God, have a purposeand we are part of God’s plan to encourage that purpose in them.

    Another excellent post my friend, thanks for keeping us reminded of what really is important.