Have you ever asked yourself what love means? There is deep consensus that all humans have the desire to be loved. Nevertheless, love is defined as our desire for emotional connection. Thus we all agree that we need love to be content in our lives. The reason is that it gives us stability and inner peace.
What Love Means – Social Aspect
Love gives us the assurance that we are not alone in the world. Especially kids have a great desire to feel safe while growing up. Because their rational mind still needs to develop, they rely on being able to return to their parents or caregivers to experience comfort and thus security.
Since humans are social beings, even adults feel the need to be held and bond with others. Love gives us the reassurance that we will be cared for and helped in times of need. Just the way of getting comfort changes with age. Luckily, love comes in many forms. Parents, siblings, friends and partners can help us fulfill our desires to feel and give love.
What Love Means – Resilience Aspect
At Duke University Medical School, in Durham, North Carolina, a study followed nearly 500 infants into their 30s. Babies who had received above-average levels of affection and attention from their mothers had mainly grown up to be more resilient adults.
They were less emotionally distressed, anxious, or hostile.
Thus Motherly affection seems to be crucial for healthy childhood development.
What Love Means – Interpretation Aspect
It is important to understand that humans interpret love differently. This also changes over the course of lifetime. According to the “Languages of Love” there are five types of interpretations.
Strong need for Physical Touch
Some kids have a huge desire for physical touch. They want to be hugged all the time and even love spending the nights with their parents. An overly affectionate child sometimes irritates parents. But there are simply people who find it comforting and relaxing to be very close. For parents who are also physical touch people they are a gift. For others it can be emotionally overwhelming from time to time.
The child who needs the most love hopefully indicates its need in a form we can understand. A strong desire for hugging is definitely one!
Some kids define gifts as a sign of our love. This is not necessarily about money. It is more the thought being expressed in a wrapped present that those kids need far more regular than others. If this is the only language for a kid and one stops giving them gifts, the child doesn’t feel loved anymore.
Words can mean the world, especially if praise is your kid`s love language.Appreciating the little things kids do well, is a wonderful way of making a child feel loved. Write them a card, note or a text message about something they did well. This is also a great way of positive reinforcement.
Acts of Service
This about doing many little things for your kid that makes him happy. A nicely cooked dinner, picking them up or helping with school work. All those acts of services are interpreted as signs of parental love and affection.
Kids go through phases where they need our entire attention. No phone mum, no TV, no nothing. You just listen or spend time together. This can be a little intense and overwhelming from time to time. But this love language is often combined with another one. There you have some options of proving to be a loving parent.
What is your Love Language – Take a Test
If you are curious finding out your own love language, you might enjoy the following test.
What Love Means – Aspect of Mother`s Love
Most mums have a natural instinct to love and care for their children. This is the same for most other mammals who raise their children until they are ready and able to venture out on their own.
A mother’s love for her child describes the natural bond between mother and child. It turns her attention to her offspring away from her own needs and desires. Furthermore, a good mother has an open heart and open ears. She knows what her kid needs and can support her child to fulfill its needs.The love of a mother can also create a surrounding where kids can grow. The reason is that she does it by knowing what matters to her individual child. That could be alone time, a room to herself, warm family meals, or one to one time with a parent.
How does a mother`s love get visible?
A mother’s love gets visible in many different forms. The most visible sign is a mother’s continuous present, reliability, warmth and ongoing support.
A study by the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science observed a free play interaction between mothers and their five-month-old children. If mothers were particularly involved in the game with their children,their baby`s brains had a bigger expression of the oxytocin receptor gene. This can lead to more balanced behavior of the little ones.. This shows that early social interaction with parents can influence our biological and psychological development through epigenetic changes to the oxytocin system. Those changes can lead to a better long term health in later life.
What Love Means – The Family Aspect
How To Bring More Affection Into Your Family Life
Storge (from the Ancient Greek) or family love. This refers to the natural bond between parents and their natural children.Its nature is unforced and instinctual affection.
But family affection can also be enforced or established in patchwork families or different forms of modern families. Here are some ideas to promote it.
The easiest way to promote family love is appreciation of each family member. Expressing the gratitude towards little things can do a great deal to enforce positive behavior and a feeling of belonging together. Asking questions and showing interest in the other person is another tool that works very well.
Baking a cake, doing the laundry or buying the favorite groceries for another family member are great acts of kindness. They give family members the feeling that their needs matter and that they matter to you.
Cooking and eating together
Especially with older kids cooking together is a great way of getting to know each other. Sitting around the table and sharing a meal has a huge bonding power. Including everyone in helping is another key that can create a feeling of belonging together. Even very small kids can help by bringing napkins to the table or helping to the table. Patience might be essential but the reward will make it worthwhile.
No matter if you choose and watch a movie together, go for a hike, work in the garden or play a board game. All those activities have bonding power. Be aware that not every activity fits each family member. Especially playing games can be taken too serious and cause more pain than harmony. Stay motivated and keep trying what works best for you.
All humans have a natural desire for physical closeness. But touch steps over a certain boundary of intimacy. Between parents and their natural children cuddling normally happens naturally. But when kids get teenagers they like having their own space. So be aware that affection requires a feel of when it is appropriate. Never hug or touch someone who doesn’t feel comfortable.
What Love Means – The Power of Love
The power of love is defined as the ability of two people to create a relationship that is so powerful that it has a big positive influence on the two people in love and their environment.
It gets visible in our daily lives. People in love talk kindly, do little things for each other, show lots of affection and appreciation. As a consequence people around them will quickly start adopting that positive behavior, especially when reinforced on top.
What Happens When A Child Doesn’t Feel Loved?
When a child’s emotional needs aren’t met in childhood, the effects will show up many years later in life. This can take many different forms.
In the book “Hold on to your kids” which he wrote with Gordon Neufeld, the authors point out the importance of making kids feel safe, understood and guided by their parents.. If mothers don`t have closeness with their children, the little ones will lack the hormone oxytocin, which acts as a brain chemical. This chemical usually gets released during breastfeeding and cuddling. Researchers from the University of Cardiff in the United Kingdom suggest that a lack of oxytocin during childhood might lead to lower levels of empathy.
Another study at UCLA found that parental warmth and affection protect one against the harmful effects of toxic childhood stress, the researchers said.
To sum up, Growing up without love from parents is obviously a long-term health risk. Effects of not being hugged as a child seem to change the physiology of our brains due to a lack of oxytocin.
Can We Learn to Love?
We generally assume that love is something that comes naturally. Thus we expect that parents always love their children. But not every pregnancy was planned and therefore not all parents necessarily have the ability to give their kids the feeling of being welcomed and loved. The good news is that we all have parenting instincts in us. As nature gave these instincts to all of us, they can be rediscovered. https://drgabormate.com/book/hold-on-to-your-kids/
Even physical affection towards children can be learned. For those growing up in a culturally unaffectionate environment themselves, this might be a challenge at first. But a gentle touch on the shoulder or head is a great start.
Don’t force yourself to hug. Start with small steps instead. You can also make your kids feel special with very small things like occasionally letting them choose what they would like for dinner or a shared activity.
The goal is to help us develop what nature has intended parents to be: a true source of contact, security, and warmth.
Be Savvy – Be Smart – Trust SimpleSavvySmart
Showing and living love is a highly rewarding way of life. It helps you and your kids to bond for a lifetime. Knowing that we can always rely on each other gives us great strength. It also helps to make your kids resilient to the pressures and challenges of modern life.