My husband doesn't show our children much affection. I'm worried this is affecting our children's attitude toward him. How much affection do our children need from their father?
Unfortunately, it’s not the exception in a lot of families that fathers have a difficult time showing affection to their kids, too often it’s the rule. But let me tell you why you really need to work overtime to change this.
First of all, affection is the thing that touches the heart more than anything else that we as parents, and every child needs it.
Now, your husband might have been raised in an environment where his father didn’t show him affection, so he feels awkward about it. Maybe he came from a home that had a lot of scare tissue on it.
He can still learn. It’s not too late for him. You need to show him why he needs to—the upside.
When it comes affection, I said it touches the soul. You know, this skin that covers our body, it’s interesting—I can’t prove this physiologically, but it’s still true—that when you touch it, it goes straight down to something deep down inside. It isn’t quantifiable on a medical chart, but it’s still there. It’s that core of the person.
It’s amazing how, you know, you’re trying to scratch your back, you can’t do it, someone comes along and does it for you, it just changes everything.
Well, children need meaningful touch, from both their mothers and fathers, and both our sons and daughters need it.
A reason why Dad needs to give this to these children is because—well, here’s reality, here are the facts—most kids define how they view themselves by how their father treated them. When their father is there giving them a meaningful touch, and he believes in them, and he encourages and he hugs them, and he shows them affection, lets them know how much he loves them, it does something inside that will just last for a lifetime.
Now, there is no doubt that there are some kids that have a harder time responding to affection than others, but you still want to give it to them. And there are times when kids don’t want to have you show public affection. That’s OK. But you need to give it to them.
Fathers can give it to their sons even through rough-housing, and playing with them, wrestling around with them on the floor, throwing them around in the pool. It’s all meaningful touch.
Fathers, if you don’t want your daughters climbing into the backseat of a car, looking for all the wrong kinds of love in all the wrong kinds of places, make sure that she doesn’t go into her teenage years and her dating years starving for affection.
Even if it doesn’t come easy to you, your kids desperately want it. It’s amazing how much this changes everything. You can do it. Mom or Dad, you can give that kind of meaningful touch to your kids, that kind of affection that will make them feel so secure for every second of their life. They will know, to the day they die, that they were thoroughly loved by their mother and father.