LOVE is an action word

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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!***

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Feel Better or Bitter – It’s Always Your Choice, by Maddisen Krown

Feel Better or Bitter – It’s Always Your Choice by Maddisen Krown

Dear Maddisen:

I’m in my 30’s, but I still find myself feeling really angry at my father for all the stuff he did and didn’t do when I was a kid, and for how oblivious he still is about all of that. He’s such an unhappy person. And guess what, so am I. How can I free myself from this bitter prison? And how do I not pass this on to my own kids? AL

Maddisen Krown, Huffington Post columnist and Life Coach, responds to this reader’s question in her Ask Maddisen column at NoHoArtsDistrict.com.

photo from Ask Maddison column (www.nohoartsdistrict.com)

photo from Ask Maddison column (www.nohoartsdistrict.com)

We are thrilled that Maddisen’s response mentions Dr. Newmark and recommends our book How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children.

Her response is very affirming, gentle, and includes simple and concrete exercises (such as a forgiveness exercise) to “transform anger and unhappiness into happiness and more inner peace.”

She also reminds us that “We always have the freedom to choose thoughts, feelings, and actions that support our well being and the well being of all concerned. We can choose to feel better, not bitter.”

She recommends How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children when talking about “supporting the happiness of your own children.

“Childrearing is too important to leave to chance!” This is what Dr. Gerald Newmark writes in his groundbreaking book, “How To Raise Emotionally Healthy Children”. I’ve read Dr. Newmark’s book, and I highly recommend it whether you have children or not! His basic thesis is that all children (and teens and adults – all people) have five critical needs that are essential to their emotional health. These are the need to feel respected, important, accepted, included, and secure. His book presents a philosophy of parenting and an action-oriented strategy based on the five critical needs. It’s simple, powerful, and effective!

I highly recommend reading the entire column! You can find it here.

Go to Amazon.com to purchase a paperback copy or ebook ($2.99) of How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children.

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