Monday, November 9, 2015

Day 1 with Fay: Grandparents Giving Children a Sense of Belonging

As we age, it becomes more natural to look back on our lives and hope we have been a positive influence in our families. The interesting part about a person’s legacy is that it can live on way beyond the years of mortality—the retelling of stories, the values exemplified, slogans or mottoes consistently expressed, the lessons of love tenderly taught . . .

For seven wonderful days, starting today, GrannyEnchanted.com will present mini-articles, sharing ideas for influencing grandchildren young and old—ideas that can make a long-lasting difference in the lives of our grandchildren and posterity. These mini-articles are written by award-winning author Fay A. Klingler (http://www.fayklingler.com/ ). Along with each idea, GrannyEnchanted.com will offer a free digi paper each day of this seven-day series. Enjoy!

1. Provide personal recognition
Properly identifying grandchildren will increase their sense of value and belonging. Medical evidence proves that hearing one’s own name has unique, positive brain functioning. If you find yourself in a situation where it is not appropriate to call out a grandchild’s name or to visit out loud (like at a program or performance where only quiet is acceptable), look for an opportunity to extend a touch—brief hug, arm squeeze, pat on the back or, at the very least, significant eye contact—some form of personal recognition.

The need to touch and be touched doesn’t change with age. If anything, it seems to increase, according to many Christian psychologists. Research has substantiated the need for infants to receive ample cuddling, physical soothing, hugs, and kisses. This need is basic for proper mental and physical growth. It is believed that the baby’s future capacity to express tenderness through physical affection can be related to the quality of physical affection received during the early years.

Hugging and kissing our young grandchildren comes naturally. As children age, their need for independence intensifies, and their requirement for privacy develops. Although the tactile experience is essential for healthy development, older grandchildren may withdraw from a hug just to show they have an identity apart from others. Yet supplying their need for touch may give them the reassurance needed—the reassurance that they are connected to a family who really cares.

Look for occasions when a touch feels appropriate for you. A touch can say, “I care,” “I like you,” “I love you,” “I understand.”

Calling grandchildren by name and providing appropriate touch will increase their self-esteem and feed their hunger for personal recognition and physical contact. Keeping these channels of communication open between you and your grandchildren (combined with verbal praise and affection) will enrich your family relationships and help your grandchildren to become more loving and successful in all their human relationships.

Fay A. Klingler is the author of the best-selling book The LDS Grandparents’ Idea BookI Am Strong! I Am Smart! and many other books and articles (www.fayklingler.com). She can be contacted on her Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/FayKlingler.

In celebration of our Guest Granny extraordinaire, Fay Klingler, we will be featuring a freebie each day she shares an article with us!
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