Your Kids Need to Know that They Matter!

Your Kids Need to Know that They Matter! December 18, 2023

Yes, Kids Need to Know that They Matter

Kids need to know that they matter to their parents.  I talked to many teens when I was a volunteer at Communities in Schools, a non-profit dropout-prevention program.  They felt that they didn’t really matter.  Their parents showed them very little attention.

The parents always seemed too busy to spend time with them. As a result, these teens spent a lot of time by themselves, feeling lonely and unloved.

Feeling Loved is God’s Greatest Gift

So please let your kids know how much they are loved, and that they matter.  It will open them up to give and receive love in their adult years. As Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Parents Forget to Include FAMILY Activities

I’m always bewildered by the number of activities my friends car pool their kids to. My head is spinning with the litany of activities these kids participate in, from soccer practice to ballet, or basketball or swimming or… you get the point.

The parents are so busy trying to keep up with their children’s extra-curricular activities that they forget to leave any room for FAMILY activities. So by the time the kids reach their teen years, I hear over and over from my friends that they are disconnected from their obnoxious teenage kids.

My Friend was Very Unhappy with His 3 Teenagers

A few years ago I had lunch with a friend of mine who was unhappy with the relationship he and his wife were having with their 3 teenage kids. He said, “They used to be such great kids! Now we can’t stand them, and we don’t know what to do.”

Actor Sidney Poitier Said It Best

I had just finished reading the actor Sidney Poitier’s great autobiography, “The Measure of a Man.” In it, he lamented the fact that today parents give their kids all the “stuff” that money can buy. Unfortunately they’re too busy to give them what they really need, which is a feeling of belonging in a family unit.

He and his brother and sister each had tasks they were responsible for performing as part of the family. He collected firewood, his sister made candles, his brother brought the water. They felt that they were a part of the family, and that they mattered.

He Felt Loved and a Part of the Family

In his twilight years, looking back on his life, he believed those were some of the happiest times of his life. He felt loved, he felt responsible. He felt he contributed to the household, that he pulled his weight.

Remembering his words gave me an idea.

I Suggested a Family Night

I shared this story with my friend, and suggested he and his wife set aside one night a week as Family Night. This night will be strictly for family members, and the kids can’t schedule anything else that night.

This Night is Just Family Members Only

They can’t go anywhere else and they can’t bring friends over. They must turn off their cell phones. This is just for the family. Also, the kids will each get to create the menu for the meal.  And then they can help prepare it.

I reminded him that they are about to go away to college. They needed to learn how to cook something besides a pizza in the microwave.

Each Child Gets 10 Minutes to Talk

Each child would be given 10 minutes to talk about what they wanted to discuss at dinner, with no interruptions from the other kids. And they would also clean up the dishes after the meal.

Then they would all play a game together. Also, no TV and computers would be allowed!

I Cautioned Him That the Kids Would Hate the Idea

I cautioned him that his kids would hate the idea and would probably spend a lot of time complaining.  Nevertheless, I encouraged him to stick to the plan! He would see some good results.

He was skeptical, but he said he would discuss it with his wife.

They Decided to Give It a Try

They decided to give my idea a try and, sure enough, the kids hated the idea. Why couldn’t they keep their cell phones with them? Their friends should be allowed to come over.  Did they really have to play stupid games?

He and his wife were about to give up on the whole idea, however they decided to stick to their guns. By the third week they noticed that their kids were really getting into this Family Night!

They Worked Together to Plan the Menus

The three teens talked among themselves about the menus, enjoyed the preparation of the meals, and ended up loving the games! They even spent time with each other researching new games to try and enjoyed teaching their parents the rules of these new games.

Their Personalities Completely Changed

The most wonderful part was how their personalities changed. My friend said that they are back to being the terrific kids he and his wife always loved. They began to treat each other with love and respect, and my friend and his wife are thrilled.

Their kids hardly even talked to each other.  And when they did, it was usually to make some sarcastic remark and bite each other’s head off.

Now They are Friendly and Helpful to Each Other

Now the kids are actually friendly and helpful to each other, and he’s beginning to see each of their unique personalities coming forth. These obnoxious teenagers have turned into loving and caring young adults.

Show your kids love, and allow them to see how important they are to you.  Let them know that they matter, and how much you value their contribution to the family. Help them feel safe and loved, and as a result, they will become those beautiful souls you always knew were there! Give it a try!


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