It’s already proven, there is really no debate….affection is crucial for a child’s well being. The truth is we all want love and affection. Dads often have a harder time providing affection than moms do. Whether it was the fact that their dad was not affectionate, it feels awkward, or you just don’t know. In episode 141 we discuss affection and it’s importance for both you and your child.
Psychologist Dr. Daniel Singley told us in our interview with him that touch literally changes the neural pathways in the brain.
There is a research firm called Child Trends and they provided some insight on warmth and affection expressed by parents to their children:
Overall it results in life-long positive outcomes for those children. Here are a couple of things they say it improves:
- Higher self-esteem
- Improved academic performance
- Better parent-child communication
- Fewer psychological and behavior problems
On the other hand, children who do not have affectionate parents tend to have:
- Lower self-esteem
- Feel more alienated
- Are more hostile and aggressive
- And are more anti-social
Seems like a pretty good argument for providing your child affection. So what can dads do to be more affectionate:
Give them a massage
Hold them more
Use a baby holder or harness on your body
Simple kisses and hugs
As they get older:
Hold hands – Toddlers will allow it but as they get older they may not want to
Sit on the couch watching TV with your arm around them
Hugs and kisses
Sit on lap
Lie in bed reading
Kisses if they will still let you
Hand on their shoulder
Sit on lap
Lie in bed
I notice times when I will consciously make more effort to be affectionate, my kids are in turn more affectionate. I think that happens with the wife too.
Here is also a couple of tips:
Go slow – you may overwhelm them if they are not used to too much affection.
Model the behavior – you should also be affectionate with your wife.