Do You Like Your Kids?

 1/2 of the likables


Just one car is parked against the curb when I see her. The school bell has just rung and out she comes, pushing a stroller at breakneck speed. A tiny blond boy runs fifteen feet behind her, trying to catch up. Without looking behind her even once, she crosses the parking lot exit as her little one runs in the path of potentially exiting cars, still trying to catch her. ‘Mommy, mommy!’ he cries, running, tripping but not quite falling. It’s not until they reach the car that mommy pays him the slightest notice.

I observe with sadness. A thousand reasons why this mama ignored her boy. Distraction. Fuss with the principal. Late to work. Who knows?

I say a prayer for her, for whatever it is that made her walk so fast, whatever it is that made her oblivious to the stumbler behind her, and I am reminded of the many times I acted in such a way and never knew it. I wonder if the people watching me thought what I know isn’t true, but what I’m trying hard not to think:

That woman doesn’t like her child.


Fifth likable


The longer I parent, the more I see how important it is not just to love my kids, but to like them, too.

As parents we naturally love our children, but the rest of the world isn’t as accepting. Our child’s future friends, teachers, colleagues, and spouses won’t care a whit about the fact Jonny has 23 cute little chromosomes from me and 23 darling ones from his dad and that he was once an adorable baby that looked like Winston Churchill.

What they will care about is Is he likable?

Third likable


Is he kind, forgiving, generous, grounded, authentic? Flexible, cheerful, open, confident? Interesting, rounded, passionate…funny? Given to fits of giggling, singing too loud, and eating hamburgers in three huge bites? Kids don’t have to be perfect to be liked, but, ironically, liking them makes them even more likable.

When children know they are liked, they feel the glow of likableness warming their tiny (or not-so-tiny) shoulders and it radiates throughout down into hearts, opening them wide. When a child is liked, he likes others with more ease and grace. Being liked is magical that way. And when he’s likable, the road through life is just that much easier.


1st likable, with a friend.


Like adults, children are riddled with weaknesses, insecurities, questions…Am I okay? Am I good enough?

On our faces they see the reply. In our eyes, and in our smiles, the real kind that seep love and acceptance right down in. Cushioned on all sides with lots of ‘like,’ they can better weather life’s storms, better adapt to uncertainty, better treat those around them. The benefits go on and on.

So, I know you love them, but maybe the thing to ask is…


Are you raising children you like?

4th likable.


  If not, what needs to change?

  • Shari Gray

    really like…

    • wholemama

      I know you do, Shari. In fact, your face was front and center as I wrote this. Awesome.

  • dora Vandenberg

    Toward the end of each month I visit
    other blogs then my regular ones and this time I decided to stop by
    some of lacking a better word “religion” ones

    Sure there things I like about my kids
    and things I don’t like about them. Ask them if they like their
    parents and I bet you get the a likable and un-likable list.

    But in general I like my self and I
    like my self.

    Hope you can take a few minute to stop
    on over at my blog…the coffee is on.

    • Tired of extroverts dominating

      I have a big problem with your essay. You totally ignore introverts v.s. extroverts. The Evangelical tradition and society are great at making extroverts feel unliked and treating them as if they aren’t likeable. My immediate family is full of shy and social introverts, they are all likeable and the people who take the time to get to know them, see this. Unfortunately, too many people don’t want to take the time, they often label them, and write them off as rude, etc. My family does plenty of the likeable things, they just do it quietly.
      Please be careful not to insult others basic personality with a simplistic blog about how to make your kids likeable.

      • wholemama


        I had to reread my post to see if we were talking about the same one.

        I offered a list of traits a parent MIGHT like about a child based on some of the traits I like about my own children. It was not meant to be an all-inclusive list of the only possible likable characteristics in a person. If you want proof that I do, indeed, enjoy my introvert children as much as my extroverts, please check out my new book, Humpty Dumpty Just Needed a Nap, available at Amazon. But I do agree with you that the evangelical world has a tough time with extroverts, especially if they are women, We can chat over coffee on that one. Bring your big mug.