COUNSELOR’S CORNER: THE “REAL THING”
BY CURTIS DEAN HALL M.S.: LICENSED CLINICAL MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST: 620-442-3125
1970’s Flashback: Two people are smiling at each other as the sun is setting behind them on what is sure to have been a perfect day. With a twinkle in their eyes, they move toward each other for a warm embrace, but suddenly just before the big kiss, they bring pop cans to their lips, lean back and start gulping as we hear the words – “Coca Cola: It’s the real thing.”
Ever since this commercial aired, I have blamed Coca Cola for the mass confusion we, Americans, experience when it comes to our relationships. All you have to do is look at the state of our families and it doesn’t take long to surmise that we have no idea what could be, even remotely considered, the “real thing.”
In a recent survey of 2,200 children, family counselor Craig Massey found that 79 percent of children surveyed reported they felt unloved. Tragically, these children were not getting the “real thing.” As parents, we must see to it that our children enjoy the satisfaction of leaning back and taking long, large gulps of the “real thing” only we can offer them.
Internationally known psychologist Dr. Kevin Leman and author of the best-selling book, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours, writes-
“This suggestion seems almost unnecessary, yet I deal with parents all the time who find it difficult to tell their children, ‘I love you.’ Perhaps these parents were brought up in homes where they weren’t told they were loved and it is difficult for them to share their intimate thoughts and feelings with their children. But if discipline is to work for you the way it can, you must be able to communicate your feelings of love.”
I can think of three ways to communicate love to a child:
1. Discipline the child – I am not talking about punishment. I’m talking about giving the child the loving correction he or she needs at the time it is needed.
2. Touch your children – Hug them. Pat them. The power of touch is incredible!
3. Show interest in what your child is interested in – So many children live their own lives while Mom and Dad live theirs.”
In today’s world, children are dying to get a taste of the “real thing” … our love.