I grew up in a house with extremely hard-working parents who sacrificed pretty much everything for us. We were loved and we were given everything they felt we needed. I feel it’s important to make that clear because what follows, is something we never got any of! Ever since I became a parent, I obviously had to learn many new things (which is completely normal), but I also realized quite a few things as well, like how much more sensitive and affectionate I am with my kids than my dad ever was with us. And I realized this early on, when I sort of made a promise to myself to always make sure my kids know that I care for them and love them and that I do that by expressing it, emotionally, physically and vocally. Every single night, since my daughters are born, I make sure to wish them a good night, to kiss and to hug them! Same thing goes for every morning (of course, there have been exceptions where I was either working late or up really early in the morning). Also, every time they leave to go somewhere without us, like at school or with their grandparents for example, I make sure they get a hug, a kiss and an “I love you”. It’s almost become a ritual and, although none of this was present while I was growing up, I think it’s extremely important. For one, it makes the kids reciprocate these feelings and emotions and instills in them the sentiment that this behavior is and should be normal (contrary to myself as a child who always thought it was embarrassing to kiss and hug my parents). Also, as I’ve mentioned several times during our podcasts, I have this unshakeable conviction that my daughters, in their search and choices for friends and later (much much later!) their partner, will naturally gravitate towards the ones that offer the same comfort, care and love that they’ve been used to at home. Or at least I hope they do! The other day, my daughter was ready to go to school and as she was about to leave, I hugged her, kissed her and told her I loved her and she said: “I already know that daddy! You tell me all the time!”. She may have been annoyed or perhaps just wanted to leave, but deep down I felt so happy because she has noticed that this happens daily! The same way that kids learn and understand things mostly through repetition, I feel like rituals like these should also be part of their lives. As parents we may often feel more compelled to repeatedly tell our kids to have good manners, to put away their stuff, to help with the chores, to not shout, to listen, to play nicely, to respect elders, etc., but we forget that their most innate desire is to be loved and sheltered, so why not tell them? Why not express it, repeatedly?
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