If our children trust us and know that we respect them, we have the groundwork for building good communication. For one way to develop trust and respect see Parenting from the Source: Communication The next step is building the necessary skills.
Touch Is Our First Language of Communication
Touch is a basic communication skill. It’s the first one we use to communicate love to a newborn. Babies in European orphanages during World War II died because they were not touched enough. Today, regular back rubs or massages are standard procedure in prenatal and newborn units, because babies thrive when they’re touched.
When Words Are Not Enough
Touch is deeper than words. Spoken communication is unnecessary when we reach across a table to touch the hand of a friend or when we pat someone on the shoulder as we walk by his chair.
Reach out and touch a hand, a shoulder, or an arm before you begin talking to your child or teen. When your daughter has a bad day, give her a big bear hug without saying anything. When your early adolescent son decides that he’s too old for hugs, switch to a slightly roughhouse-style touch. He’ll be back for regular hugs before long.
Biblical Examples of Communication by Touch
In the Old Testament, fathers laid their hands on the heads of sons as they pronounced their blessings. (Genesis 48:14) Parents recognized the importance of touch when they brought their children to Jesus so that he could hold them. (Matthew 19:13) Jesus showed his disciples his love for them by washing (and touching) their feet. (John 13:5)
It’s Never Too Late to Learn
Even if you are not a “touchy” person, you can learn now. Your family will be blessed as they begin to soak up the love that you communicate through touch.
Did you use massage with your babies? And, cuddle while reading to your toddlers? What about your teens? What are some effective ways you’ve found to communicate through touch with your teens?