While in college, I had a roommate from Alaska. He told me that in the Eskimo language they have a bunch of words to designate different aspects of snow. That is because snow is an important a part of their lives, they need to know the type of snow they are taking about.

In english we have a few words for the different aspects of love. In this blog we are going to look at one aspect. Our children’s need for affection.

Affection is the first of four core needs.  It is first because it starts with the letter “a”.

Affection is defined by Life Is Full Of Choices as: 

Anything we say or do to make a child feel love and cared for/or appreciated for who they are.

We are often questioned about the difference between affection and attention.

It is important to realize that attention focuses on what a child does while affection is concerned with who they are or who they are becoming (their character).

Both attention and affection can meet the same need on the surface – but only affection can meet the underlying felt need.

So if I meet my child’s need for affection with attention they will soon be back for another serving of attention – because while their need is superficially met, they have not felt the satisfaction of their inner need.

If your child is always asking for attention try meeting their inner need for affection by complimenting them for that they have done (that is attention) then use the words “that shows me” to start talking about who they are or who they are becoming.

For example:

That report card is fantastic! That shows me that you have a teachable spirit.

I like the way you are sharing  your toys, that shows me you care about others.

You did a good job of cleaning your room. That shows me you are responsible by taking care of your space.

So start with attention and go into affection to meet your child’s inner-most need. Then watch what happens!

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