LOVE is an action word

In How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children, Dr. Gerald Newmark defines the five critical emotional needs of children – and parents, too – as:

    The need to feel INCLUDED
    The need to feel RESPECTED
    The need to feel IMPORTANT
    The need to feel ACCEPTED
    The need to feel SECURE

Perhaps you have asked yourself, “What about love? Why hasn’t love been included as one of the five critical needs of children?” It was omitted purposefully, not because it lacks importance—on the contrary, it is extremely important—but rather because the word “love” has lost some of its force and meaning through overuse and misuse.

In many cases, saying the words “I love you” has become trite, meaningless, or confusing. In a scene from the movie Nuts, a conversation takes place between a mother and her estranged daughter: The mother says to the daughter, “You know we love you sweetheart, don’t you? Didn’t we always tell you we loved you?” To which the daughter replies angrily, “Love? What do you know about love? You told me you loved me, but you never showed me you did.” Yes, there is a difference.

There are parents who abuse or neglect their children and then say, “I love you,” thinking it makes up for their behavior. Too often, love is equated with saying “I love you.” If saying “I love you” were enough, we might not have such a high divorce rate. Marriages don’t break up because a spouse stops saying “I love you.” They break up because spouses quit treating each other in a loving way.

Most parents love their children or so we assume. However, we cannot assume from this that most parents act in a loving way. Dr. Newmark’s answer to “What about love?” is that loving your child is essential and saying “I love you” is important, but neither is sufficient unless you act in a loving way. That is why he defines “acting in a loving way” as relating to children in ways that make the child feel respected, important, accepted, included, and secure—that’s the best way to say, “I love you.”

Our book How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle ebook in both English and Spanish.

***As always, you can visit us at The Children’s Project website, LIKE us on Facebook, or follow us on on Twitter!***


Emotional-Health-Friendly Cities: What Does That Mean, and How do We Get There!

by Dr. Gerald Newmark, author of How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children, and co-founder of The Children’s Project

What is an Emotional-Health-Friendly City?

It is a city whose citizens have developed an understanding of how important emotional health is to success in life and how the neglect of emotional health in our homes and schools has jeopardized the future of our children, families and communities.


“Romancing the Road” by Victor Anunez, Guadalajara, Mexico

It is a city whose citizens have adopted five critical emotional needs—respected, important, accepted, included and secure—as a unifying concept around which all elements of the city can rally to create emotionally healthy environments where adults interact with children in emotionally healthy ways.

It is a city that provides its families and individuals, a small book with a big idea, “How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children” by Gerald Newmark, Ph.D., in which the concepts of the five critical emotional needs first saw the light of day.

It is a city, which in collaboration with The Children’s Project, makes the book available to all individuals at a cost that everyone can afford.

It is a city where all the elements—business, education, civic and community agencies, the at-risk community, the young and old, rich and poor can come together to learn and practice a language of unity in a collaborative attempt to achieve peace and prosperity.

The feeling of being a part of something that has significance beyond one’s self, with strong implications for schools and families, education and cities nationwide, is expected to raise the morale of all participants throughout the city.

Read about Salinas, CA, our first Emotionally Friendly City!

Our book How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle ebook in both English and Spanish.

The Children’s Project