Ways to Tell Your Teens You Love Them

By Dayle Shockley

Teenagers may not be the most lovable creatures in the world, but they probably need more love during those turbulent years than at any other time in their lives.

If you’re a parent who finds it difficult to say “I love you” to your teen, take heart! You can tell your teen you love him or her without actually saying it. Here are some ways:

* Give plenty of hugs. I read once that human beings need 12 hugs a day. Sounds good to me. If you haven’t hugged your teen lately, don’t be embarrassed. Just do it!

* Show respect. The way you speak says as much as your words. Even ifyou’re correcting your teen, do it in a respectful way.

* Share time and energy. You know that parenting requires massive doses of time and energy. Regardless of what you may think, teens do notice the little things you do, such as ironing clothes, paying part of their car insurance and asking what they would like for lunch.

* Set reasonable limits. Even when teens try to talk their parents out of curfews, they feel secure knowing someone cares. Scott, 17, says that when his parents tell him no, they are trying to keep him from getting hurt. That understanding might not have come if his parents hadn’t first explained to him why they’d said no to a later curfew.

* Forgive and forget. Suzanne, now a grown woman, was 18 when she lost her virginity. The news crushed her parents. “When I saw their faces,” she remembers, “I wanted to die. If only I could have undone it.” Suzanne was prepared for anything-except forgiveness.

“We all cried together,” she says, “but I’ll never forget what happened after I went to bed that night. My dad crept into my room, bent down and kissed me on the forehead. He actually kissed me! It was the most incredible feeling.” Her parents’ forgiveness was a turning point in her life. “If they could forgive me, I know their love – and religion – was real.

* Keep praying. Perhaps the most loving thing a parent can do for their teens is pray for them. And let them hear you praying for them. Be bold and ask to pray with your teen before he goes to bed. You can even slip in after he’s sleeping and pray by his bedside.

Jeff remembers waking up in the night and finding his dad praying over him. “I knew that spelled ‘love,'” he says.

(The above information was published by FOCUS ON THE FAMILY, April 1992)

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