Three simple words but not easy for most parents to say to their kids. I asked friends if they have ever been told by their parents that they love them. Having their parents say ‘I love you’, of course in their respective languages.
It was so sad to hear that most of them have never been told straight that they are loved. It’s always been through actions or when disciplined that a parent will insinuate that they love them hence the disciplinary action they are taking.
If there is one thing I would like my son to know whether I am there or not is that his mom loves him and she said it to him directly. It is very important to me that not only does he need to see my actions or expect me to love him as his mother but hear me utter those words on a regular basis.
I am also paying it forward for my grandkids. They need their dad to be comfortable saying those words. I am happy to reasonably get him toys or clothes he wants but that is not going to be my way of showing him that I love him.
One friend told me that she does not tell her kids that she loves them because this is something unfamiliar to her, she is not used to it. She loves them to bits but does not see the need to tell them.
Who will say it first?
As parents I wonder whether we are going to give power to outside people - girlfriends or boyfriends - to be the first ones to utter those words to our kids. Many young ladies cling onto unhealthy relationships because ‘he told me he loved me’.
I can only imagine how difficult it is if you are a male having your dad tell you that they love you or vice versa. To show that being told that you are loved was a thorny issue, there were quite a few tears from people I spoke to, who really longed for those words from their parents.
As a parent do you really want your kids to grow up wondering whether you loved them or not? Saying ‘I love you’ is often seen as a Western thing but judging by the tears that flowed I think all of us need to take note as parents and relook this.
It’s not only parents that should tell the kids but perhaps us as adults turn things around and tell Mom and Dad that we love them. Although, when a friend wrote a letter to her mom and told her that she loved her in the letter, poor mom got worried thinking my friend was going to commit suicide; clearly this shows that this was an unfamiliar territory for the family. How sad.
I am sure we all want to be loved and we should say the actual words to our loved ones. Some parents and kids have passed on and they have never heard the words ‘I love you’ uttered to each other. I challenge all of us as parents to tell our princes and princesses that they are loved, and while you’re at it why not tell your own parents as well?
Do you and your children (or parents) say ‘I love you?’ Tell us by emailing to email@example.com and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.
Read more by Masanda Peter
Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
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